Federal Snoops Activate Smartphone Microphones and Laptop Cameras

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
08/06/2013
       
Federal Snoops Activate Smartphone Microphones and Laptop Cameras

The Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI is using hacker tools to remotely activate Android smartphone microphones and laptop cameras.

The federal government is remotely activating the microphones and cameras in Android smartphones and Windows laptops, according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal.

Citing a “former US official,” the Journal says court documents reveal that that the FBI is using a variety of “hacking” tools to ramp up the scope of the surveillance of millions of Americans, keeping many unwittingly under the watchful eye of Washington.

When contacted by The New American, a media spokesperson for Google had no comment.

One of the Journal's anonymous sources described a part of the FBI called the "Remote Operations Unit." Agents in this specialized unit prefer, if possible, to install the remote control software by uploading to the target’s computer using a USB flash drive. When the g-men-come-hackers can’t get access to the target’s computer, they install the surveillance software over the Internet “using a document or link that loads software when the person clicks or views it."

Readers should understand that it is not only possible for the federal government to listen to your conversations using the microphone in your Android smartphone and watch you while you sit in your own home on your own computer, but they do so regularly and can do so very easily.

Purportedly, the FBI has been using these methods of surveillance “for over a decade,” but their use has come to light only recently by way of “court documents and interviews” with people familiar with the programs.

The Journal relates one such document that shed light on the computer and cellphone hacking methods used by the federal government:

Earlier this year, a federal warrant application in a Texas identity-theft case sought to use software to extract files and covertly take photos using a computer's camera, according to court documents. The judge denied the application, saying, among other things, that he wanted more information on how data collected from the computer would be minimized to remove information on innocent people.

Click here to read the entire article.

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