Saturday, August 1, 2009
Big Brother Is Watching Your Blackberry
With Every High-Tech Gadget We Buy, We Give up a Little More of our Privacy
By CHRISTIAN STOCKER
July 27, 2009
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A dramatic example of Zittrain’s thesis occurred recently in the United Arab Emirates. Wired magazine and The Register reported how the local Internet provider, Etisalat, sent out a software update to around 145,000 of their Blackberry customers. However, thanks to a software glitch that caused the battery power in all the affected Blackberrys to be drained, it was discovered that the software update also included surveillance software.
The spying part of the software was switched off — but all it needed was a command from the Internet server and the Blackberrys would send e-mail and text messages in an encrypted form to an unknown recipient. IT experts believe the intended recipient was local security forces. To date, Etisalat has not made a statement in response to the allegations. The company’s sole response has been a curt press release stating that the reason for the update was simply “to improve the service quality.”
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Clearly, we must be very circumspect about “cloud computing”. We don’t control the applications, the data, and in some case not even the local hardware.
No, no thanks, when I buy my copy of George Orwell, you don’t get to take it away from me.
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