The FBI is using its own hacking programs for installing malware and spyware on the computers of suspected terrorists or child pornographers, a tactic that is drawing attention in the wake of disclosures about the domestic online surveillance of Americans.
Given how the NSA has dragooned every bit of information it’s possible for them to gather — whether or not a secret court has allowed it — what assurances do we have that the FBI is not also acting in such a manner?
For months I have noticed suspicious activity with Avast! anti-virus. It will take longer to startup than usual. It will seem to be doing “updating” — despite my having automatic updates turned off — and will sometimes spin up when accessing sites that are otherwise known to be safe and read by most people. (And, yes, I have done scans and they come up clean; including taking entire days to do full scans by more than one program!)
I’m not tech enough to understand how to figure out what is going on or how to tap my Internet traffic to see what’s actually coming in and going out, but I damn well know that something hasn’t been right.
And now this revelation of the FBI’s activities.
Once something is released onto the Net, it doesn’t tend to discriminate. Witness Stuxnet and other malware that has gone undetected for years.
The questions I have had that some goddammed journalist better wake up to and start asking are these:
1) Do anti-viral/malware programs have backdoors in them?
2) If not, can they detect what the FBI is doing?
3) How hard would it be for a secret court to order them to install backdoors?
4) If it turns out that such government spyware is on my machine without court authorization and without me specified by name as a target, what is my legal recourse?
The Spy State has gone too damn far.
This isn’t East Germany.
This isn’t the old Soviet Union.
This pervasive paranoia is not what this nation is about.
If isn’t reigned in, we’re facing a catastrophe the dimensions of which none of us can even imagine.