informationliberation
The news you're not supposed to know...




An Introduction to Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand Everything
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
(more)
Article posted May 28 2014, 2:21 AM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: Techdirt Print

Do Personal Computers Come With NSA Surveillance Devices Built-In As Standard?

by Glyn Moody

As Techdirt reported last year, one of the most bizarre episodes in the unfolding story of the Snowden leaks was when two experts from the UK's GCHQ oversaw the destruction of the Guardian's computers that held material provided by Snowden. As everyone -- including the Guardian's editor Alan Rusbridger -- pointed out, this was a particularly pointless act since copies of the documents were held elsewhere, outside the UK. The only possible explanation seemed to be that the UK government was trying to put the frighteners on the Guardian, and engaged in this piece of theater to ram the point home. But a fascinating blog post from Privacy International raises the possibility that there is another far more disturbing explanation:
GCHQ were not just interested in hard drives nor did they destroy whole devices. An examination of the targeted hardware by Privacy International, with cooperation from the Guardian, has found the whole episode to be more troubling and puzzling than previously believed.

During our investigation, we were surprised to learn that a few very specific components on devices, such as the keyboard, trackpad and monitor, were targeted along with apparently trivial chips on the main boards of laptops and desktops. Initial consultation with members of the technology community supported our identification of the components and that the actions of GCHQ were worth analyzing further.
In other words, GCHQ weren't trying to destroy the data -- which they, like everyone else, knew was completely futile. There were interested in "apparently trivial chips on the main boards of laptops and desktops." Specifically, these were the keyboard controller chip, the trackpad controller chip and the inverting converter chip. Privacy International provides more details:
From our analysis, we believe the targeted component of the keyboard is the keyboard encoder responsible for communicating over the USB and interpreting key presses on its various I/O pins.

...

We believe the targeted [trackpad] component is a serial flash chip that may perform a similar function to the keyboard controller also targeted. It is noteworthy that the device in question uses the controller board on the trackpad to also connect the keyboard to the main device.

...

The final component is an inverting converter, again used on the Apple MacBook Air systems.
Just over a year ago, only the most paranoid would have worried about the fact that the GCHQ sent two people to destroy these seemingly trivial components. But in the wake of Snowden's revelations about the astonishing range of technologies that the NSA has developed in order to infiltrate hardware systems -- things like radio transmitters built into USB leads -- the GCHQ's actions immediately raise a troubling thought: that most or all mainstream computers routinely contain various components that can be used to spy on us. As Privacy International concludes:
We will continue to explore the rest of the chips destroyed by GCHQ. We welcome any thoughts from individuals who have an understanding of these components and what their storage capabilities are, and for what purposes. We hope to achieve some much needed transparency about what our devices do and how the unseen components on the inside might betray our privacy.
Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+





Latest Big Brother/Orwellian
- FBI's Facial Recognition Program Hits 'Full Operational Capability'
- Student Suspended For Saying 'Bless You' After Classmate Sneezed
- The Worst Trolls On The Internet Are The Government Trolls
- Feds Ignore First Amendment, Supreme Court Precedent In Seizing Domain Of Social Network For Sex Workers
- US Supreme Court Rules Cops Need Warrants to Search Cell Phones
- State Legislators Discussing Laws That Will Put Law Enforcement Surveillance Cameras Inside Private Businesses
- Obama Admin Seeks Authority To Ruin All GPS Navigation Systems
- Judge Says NSA Can Continue To Destroy Evidence









Comments 1 - 2 of 2 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Anonymous

Posted: May 28 2014, 6:50 PM

Link
7172 We could have summed it up with a single sentence ...
"One's called Windows and one's called Android"
Anonymous

Posted: May 29 2014, 3:50 PM

Link
65110 Use alternative, open-source OSes. Minix, BSD, Linux are your friends.

You can check the code line by line (and turn off unwanted devices), compile it yourselves and even improve the OS itself for the benefit of fellow users worldwide.

Embrace the change and empower yourselves.


Add Comment
Name
Comment

* No HTML


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below
 


PLEASE NOTE
Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy



Advanced Search
Username:

Password:

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Register

"You Have The Right To Shut Up": Police Raid Tavern, Lock Doors, Forcibly Search Dozens of Patrons - 09/17Government Seeks To Steal Elderly Car Crash Victim's Home Over Single Missed Property Tax Payment - 09/17Perpetual Fear Under Empire - 09/17FBI Investigates: Teen In A Coma After Cop Deploys Taser During Routine Traffic Stop - 09/17CBC Warns Canadians: US Cops Will Pull You Over And Steal Your Money - 09/17LA School District Police Get Armored Vehicle, Grenade Launchers - 09/17Anal Probes Run Amok: Drug-Sniffing Dogs Must Be Stopped - 09/1717-Yr-Old In Critical Condition After Window Malfunction Leads to Tasering During Traffic Stop - 09/16

Rialto, CA Police Made to Wear Cameras, Use of Force Drops by Over Two-ThirdsCop Who Karate Chopped NY Judge In Throat Gets Off Scot-FreeFlorida Cop Smashes Compliant Woman's Face Into Car -- "Maybe Now You Can Understand Simple Instructions"VIDEO: Lapel Cam Reveals A Day In The Life Of A U.S. Police Officer (Tasing, Beating, Breaking & Entering, Stomping On Heads... and Laughing About It)Caught On Tape: Officer Sucker Punches Inmate In Face, Files Report Claiming 'Self Defense'Insult Person On Twitter, Go To JailSWAT Team Brings TV Crew To Film Raid Against Threatening Internet Critic -- Raids Innocent Grandma InsteadCop Karate Chops NY Judge In The Throat
(more)

 
Top