Recently a senior New South Wales police investigator in Australia was arrested for plotting to import drugs from pantyhose company in Pakistan using bags of rice as a cover. He needed money to cover his gambling debts. The cop's confederates were well known criminals and a psychic. They met in cafes; used the police fax machine to send messages. And they even communicated 'secretly' using Hotmail, through what they imagined to be the highly secure method of sharing passwords in an account and leaving messages in the "Drafts" folder. He was arrested by the Australian feds. They should charge him with stupidity, but I don't think that crime is on the books.
People have an astounding ignorance of their vulnerability to signals intelligence. How commonplace the British government's monitoring of cell phone communications has become is illustrated in by this software company's sales pitch. (Be sure to watch the video. You will never look at your cell phone the same way again.) For as long as a cell phone is turned on, even if you are not making calls, it is trying to stay connected with the network. And the network has to know where it is, in terms of its coverage, in order to route messages to it. This means a constant log of position data is being collected on it all the time. Emergency services exploit this feature to find lost or injured people. But so can anyone with access to the phone company locator database. Like parents who want to know where their children are. Or someone else who wants to sell near real-time information on your whereabouts.
We get worried about the damndest things. Whether it is ok to wiretap terrorist suspects. But maybe the biggest potential actual threats to our privacy are the most ordinary of things. Video surveillance cameras. Cell phones. Company packet sniffers. Filters the entertainment companies want put on your ISP to monitor "bootleg" software. Databases. Especially databases.
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