In a must watch segment on MSNBC’s Last Hour with Brian Williams, Edward Snowden made the bombshell revelation that the current state of big brother surveillance is such that the government is essentially making a permanent record of our private lives. Snowden’s fear is that this information can and will be used against private citizens for intimidation, harassment etc .
Snowden explained to host Brian Williams how the government and some private companies are using our private cell phones against us–absolutely shocking stuff. Snowden said the government now considers hacking into people’s phones a legitimate investigative tool. He says the government will seek out vulnerabilities in your phone’s software to get into(hack) your phone. Once inside, everything you can do with your phone, they can also do remotely. They for example, can video record your living room, your children, your visitors and yeah liberals, even your kinky bedroom activities.
Specifically Snowden said, “Hacking has increasingly become what governments consider a legitimate investigative tool. They use the same methods and techniques as criminal hackers, and what this means is that they will try to remotely take over your device. Once they do this by detecting a vulnerability in the software your device runs such as Apple’s IOS or Microsoft’s Windows, they can craft a special kind of attack code called an ‘exploit’. They then launch this exploit at the vulnerability on your device which allows them to take total control of your device. Anything you can do on that device, the attacker, in this case the government, can do. They can read your email, they can collect every document, they can look at your contact book, they can turn the location services on, they can see anything that is on that phone instantly and send it back home to the mother ship. They can do the same with laptops. “
Another bombshell revelation by Snowden was that in many cases, the government doesn’t even need to hack into our devices, they can get all this information from our good friend Google. Who knew?
And just in case you thought Yours Truly was being facetious earlier with the assertion that the government can record your kinky bedroom activities, listen to Snowden himself explain how easy this is.
Host Brian Williams posed a very important question to Snowden about the usual refrain from law enforcement officials and some members of the public that “If you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” Snowden says absolutely you should be worried because these seemingly innocent pieces of information the government collects about you daily can be aggregated and used to create a profile of you which the government then shares/sells to private entities who use them to make decisions about you–some of which may not be accurate.
Snowden specifically said, “Our devices are casting all of these records that we do not see being created, that in aggregate seem very innocent. You were at Starbucks at this time, you went to the hospital afterwards, you spent a long time at the hospital. After you left the hospital you made a phone call. You made a phone call to your mother. You talked to her until the middle of the night. The hospital was an oncology clinic. Even if you can’t see the content of these communications, the activity records, what the government calls ‘metadata’, which they argue they do not need a warrant to collect, tells the whole story. And these activity records are being created and shared and collected and intercepted constantly by companies and governments……As they sell these, as they trade these, as they make their businesses on the backs of these records, what they are selling is not information….what they are selling is us……..”
Bottom line folks, there needs to be a debate about big brother surveillance in general and in particular whether the 4th amendment right to privacy even exists anymore given the latest technological advancements. Another legal issue that needs serious attention is the question surrounding warrants. Law enforcement officials, when confronted about these highly invasive techniques often throw out the answer, “we had a warrant” which we all assume makes all their invasive techniques “legal”. The question that is never asked, and for which yours truly would really like to get an answer to is this–Do the judges who supposedly issue these warrants know exactly what they are authorizing law enforcement officials to do with these technologies? Do they for example know that they can be used to record people in their bedrooms, follow people around on a 24-hour basis etc? Are there mechanisms in place to find out if these devices are abused by law enforcement officials? All these are serious questions that need to be addressed for everybody’s sake–law enforcement officials, the courts, and the increasingly suspicious public.
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