It may come as little surprise to some, but the government has confirmed that they can use smart home devices to spy on you. While an increasing number of citizens are looking for devices that can improve their standard of living, and be customized to their own individual needs, that data from those devices can also be hacked and collected. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, confirmed for the public that things like thermostats, cameras, and other household appliances, can easily be hacked and therefore they provide an advantage when it comes to spying on targets.
Essentially, any of the appliances in your home that are connected to the internet, are going to provide a risk. Many customers who buy these products and use them in their home are also unaware of the potential for someone to interfere with their product. “In the future, intelligence services might use the [internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” said Clapper.
A recent study looking into the FBI's spying abilities, conducted at Harvard's Berkman Center, proposes that we are now in a sort of “golden age of surveillance” because there are so many avenues which agents can utilize if they are looking to spy on a target. From cellphones and computers, to thermostats, game systems, and televisions, there are a number of different objects that can be used as a tool for spying on a target. There is even a new Barbie that has the ability to spy on you because it was created with the ability to listen to the owners and respond.
It is hard not to recognize the glaring simulates between today's reality and that which was described in the fascist dystopian future of Orwell's 1984 novel. Many individuals who have loaded their home with an array of these products, might not even be aware of how much of a threat these products can pose to their personal privacy. We are living in a world where privacy is increasingly overlooked and devalued. There is even an entire search engine that allows for people to easily search and see unsecure webcam footage from around the world, from webcams that are broadcasting without the knowledge of the people who own them. It's important to be aware of how the devices that we use every day can potentially be used in a way that is detrimental to us.
When it comes to the recent FBI claim that they were “going dark” because they are losing their ability to spy on suspects because of an increasingly popularity with encryption, it looks like their claims are slightly embellished. It's obvious that there are many tools and avenues that are available to authorities, if they way to spy on a suspect, even if that individual does try and encrypt their online activities.
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