A controversy has surfaced. The head of a manufacturing company says that the FBI has been asking his firm for information about the secret monitoring technology that the firm has installed on over 140 million cell phones.
Wait a minute! It has installed what?
That the FBI is interested should come as no surprise. I am interested!
The FBI has said it has done nothing wrong. This is the standard bureaucratic response. What bothers me is the fact that anyone, let alone the FBI, should be monitoring cell phones.
When pressed, Coward would not say how many times or how often the bureau sought Carrier IQ’s technology, but he was certain of the company’s response to those requests. “There is no relationship between us and the FBI,” he said.
Coward’s testimony appeared to conflict rather mightily with Mueller’s, who said in response to a question about it from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., that the bureau “neither sought nor obtained any information from Carrier IQ in any one of our investigations.”
A spokesman for the FBI, Michael Kortan, sought to trivialize any contact the FBI may have had by telling The Associated Press the agency “communicates routinely with many technology companies, including Carrier IQ, relative to new and emerging technologies and capabilities.”
The government is in a race with private data companies to gather information on us.
According to reports, Carrier IQ’s software is used by cell phone makers and carriers “to collect some information, such as the telephone numbers a user dials and the phone numbers from incoming calls,” the Washington Post reported.
The companies assure consumers, however, that the technology doesn’t “collect the content of text messages sent or received, the content of e-mails sent or received, the URLs of Web sites visited, information from user address books or any other keystroke data.”
Not so fast. This Web site has a wealth of tech-heavy, geek squad stuff on it, but it appears to say, in essence, the software is capable of – and probably does – collect the very information the company says is not being collected.
And there is this. In November, security researcher Trevor Eckhart posted a video online showing how keystrokes and messages from his smart phone were being logged by Carrier IQ software.
This much is sure: do not have your cell phone on you when you discuss anything that you think should be kept private.
If you think I am exaggerating, read this, written by the man who invented the technology that lets computers scan typed text and convert this into spoken sentences. He is an expert in technology. He says that the government is capable of assembling vast data files on citizens. Libya’s government under Gadaffi did this to dissidents. (The strategy did not work.)