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Turning the function of an innocent system into paranoia. - The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
zimzat
zimzat
Turning the function of an innocent system into paranoia.
If you want to avoid being more informed, and by proxy more paranoid, you may want to avoid this post.

Recently I bought a 3DS and have started playing around with it. They encourage you to leave it on and carry it around with you. As a computer software developer and reader of news about bot nets, device hacks, and surveillance this got me to thinking about the implications of this. Many people likely take these devices to work, near potentially sensitive networks and systems, and near open wifi. If someone were to hijack these devices via that 'streetpass' system they could spread a bot net far and wide fairly quickly and most people would never even realize it. They could be commanded to initiate denial attacks, rip through unprotected systems, plant backdoors, track individuals, and do any number of other undesirable things. Entities we may trust could be doing this to us right now.

This then got me to thinking about how easy it would be track someone with common technology available to any person on the street. It wouldn't take much; think about any item that you regularly carry around with you. Your coat. Your shoes. Your pants. Your purse or backpack. Your wallet. Any of these items could have a tracking device inserted into them and most people don't have the capability to detect them. Devices that could provide an ping signal aren't that expensive. The real cost is in attaching them to the population at large, but infiltrating and tracking a single individual or group of people would be trivial.

I guess this goes to say that if someone wants to track you then they probably already at. The broad tracking of 'meta' data, phone calls, and cell phone locations is just their icing on the cake to hold everyone hostage at once instead of just specifically tailored targets.
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sisyphus238 From: sisyphus238 Date: January 26th, 2014 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm guessing you watch very little to no television. Currently, there are about 3 shows on the air that base much of their plot lines on just this kind, (and more sophisticated forms), of tech.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: January 26th, 2014 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, pretty much. I don't have any cable subscriptions and I tend to watch Netflix more when I'm sick than any other time by far (as in almost no watching if I'm not sick).

In TV and Movies technology is often used as a magic plot device. Something most viewers won't understand what is or isn't feasible and so the writers and actors can get away with pretty much anything that sounds technobabble enough. Like unobtainium. I saw a tumblr of screenshots of movies which displayed supposed 'hacking' in progress. The thing that struck me as the most interesting about that was ones where it was just source code for some open source project (like the C compiler itself) flying by. *shrugs*

As more revelations about our own government happen it seems like we never really had to worry about individuals or mafia groups doing this, and more about our own government. *shakes head* yep.
sisyphus238 From: sisyphus238 Date: January 26th, 2014 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
The show that comes most to mind with regard to all of this is "Person of Interest" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1839578/). Though fairly far-fetched, it's not all that far removed from what the NSA is up to.
I suspect you're not unlike a friend of mine who has a similar programming background to yours, and has no interest in seeing the movie "Her", because he's afraid that the basis of the plot will be so far-removed from what operating systems actually are, that he wouldn't be able to accept the premise, and so wouldn't enjoy the film.

Edited at 2014-01-26 10:10 pm (UTC)
zimzat From: zimzat Date: January 26th, 2014 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
The name of that show rings a bell but I don't think I've seen any of it yet. The synopsis looks mildly interesting, though also a little scary in the context of current surveillance activities.

I can disconnect myself from reality fairly well when it comes to watching movies. "non-canon" comic book movies and shows don't bother me, and so forth. I treat each of them as their own entity and try not to assume too much about how things "should" be.
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