As you've doubtless noticed, the media are breathlessly "reporting" that the CIA can spy on you via your television! I suppose it's a welcome, if brief, respite from their general 24/7 bashing of Trump and Republicans, but really...
Some folks just have an enormously exaggerated sense of their own self-importance; they believe that they can change planetary climate by driving an electric car, and they're horrified to find that agencies can spy on them through their televisions. I don't worry about it, because it doesn't seem to me that I'm all that important in the great scheme of things. Besides, all of the walls, floors, and ceilings here are covered in tinfoil....
One hack, code-named Weeping Angel, allows spies to capture audio and possibly video from Samsung smart TVs that appear to be turned off. Wired has a guide to telling whether your TV has been hacked.
Really? You don't say!
Worried about the CIA? Good grief.
The problems with connected devices have been discussed at length here on multiple occasions, and they don't so much involve government agencies as they do just plain old black-hat hackers. As has been observed here, in his novel, 1984, George Orwell projected massive governmental surveillance, but he anticipated that it would all be installed by government agencies; he never anticipated that people would buy and install the devices on their own. In that, he was wrong: Americans today would generally rather buy an iPhone than health insurance.
They don't seem to mind buying things that allow them to be tracked - or listened to, in the case of devices such as Amazon's "Echo".
And in a related note, I noticed this yesterday:
Republicans took the first step toward reversing the Federal Communication Commission’s internet privacy rules today, with 25 senators introducing legislation that would reverse the rules and forbid the commission from passing anything similar to them in the future.
For the most part, Republicans just want to see the FCC scale back its rules to more closely match the FTC’s. At a minimum, that’ll mean letting internet providers share your web browsing history so that they can make more ad money.
All the more reason to use TOR or ad-blocking software. I use both - adblock all the time, and TOR frequently. I just don't like the ads. And for news sites that give you access to three or four stories a month in an effort to get you to subscribe - that's where TOR comes in.
Finally, I ran across an odd tale involving Facebook and the BBC:
Facebook has come under fire for not doing enough to police secret groups that trade child porn on the network. And in a disturbing twist, Facebook seems to be making the problem worse. When BBC journalists discovered child porn on the network and sent those images to Facebook last week, the company reported the BBC to police in the UK for the distribution of illegal images.
The BBC has been investigating secret child porn rings on Facebook for years. And last week a representative from Facebook, Simon Milner, finally agreed to sit down for an interview about moderation tools on the network. There was just one condition: Facebook asked that the BBC reporters send the company images that they’d found on Facebook’s secret groups that the BBC would like to discuss.
The BBC journalists sent Facebook the images they had flagged from private Facebook groups. And not only did Facebook cancel the interview, the company reported the journalists to the police.
So, let's wrap this up, Facebook hosts child porn on its platforms and the BBC found out about it. BBC wanted an interview to discuss their findings and the extent of moderation tools deployed in these "secret groups", but as a condition for the interview, Facebook told them to turn over the images that BBC had found on their Facebook platform. BBC obliged, and Facebook immediately cancelled the interview and reported BBC to authorities.
File under: reason 4,559 to dislike Facebook.