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Sovazky Lee
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Sovazky Lee   My Press Releases

They can spy on you through your laptop camera

Published on 4/23/2018
For additional information  Click Here

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The concept of "Big Brother" used to be a dystopian technological nightmare, but these days, it's just another Wednesday. Unless you're living with no electricity in a secluded cabin in the woods, the chances are that your likes, dislikes, physical location, friends, family members, and personal information are all being tracked by some of the most powerful corporations in the world. Maybe that's why it's become so hard to sleep at night? While science fiction novels predicted this craziness decades ago, what few anticipated was how willingly the general public would implant tracking devices into every feature of their lives. Most of the time, people don't even think about it. But the truth is, everything from cell phone cameras to smart TV recordings to your very DNA is being handled by people you've never met, for purposes ranging from government surveillance to targeted advertising. Sometimes, paranoia is a good thing.

Yes, People can spy on you through your laptop camera Everyone has that one crazy uncle who duct tapes the little camera on his laptop, and we all laugh at him. Now, it's probably silly that he checks his lamps for hidden microphones every morning, and the literal tinfoil hat is a bit much, but when it comes to the laptop camera … well, he has a point. According to the New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg tapes over his camera, too. And when Mr. Facebook himself is doing it, taping it over suddenly doesn't seem so paranoid. Admittedly, most people aren't celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, so there aren't billions of followers trying to hack into your camera, just to stare at you flossing your teeth as you read listicles about privacy rights.

However, Digital Spy does point out that innocent people have been recorded in states of undress by predatory voyeurs who upload these videos to creepy websites. It's also worth noting that hackers can get into your cellphone's camera, too, with the NSA having a reputation for hacking iPhone cameras in particular. As reported by CNET, one school in Pennsylvania was even charged with spying on students via laptops the students brought home, which is pretty inexcusable. That said, if you want to avoid getting snooped on in this manner, the best thing you can do is try to avoid shady websites, weird advertisements, or unclear downloads. Also, get some good antivirus software on your computer, ASAP.

Your smart TV is a little too smart There's a reason it's not called a dumb TV. In case you didn't read every bit of the fine print when you bought that swanky new Samsung flat screen, CNET offers a helpful reminder that not only does your TV capture voice recordings and send them to third parties in order to improve its recognition software, but users should also keep in mind that whatever you say around the TV — you know, while you're sitting in the living room drinking with your friends — might be captured and sent off as well. Imagine your TV is the sort of person who just blabs everybody's secrets without realizing it, and you'll be on the right track. CNET also details the so-called "Weeping Angel" hack revealed via Wikileaks, which was allegedly a program developed by both the CIA and MI5 that would make your Samsung TV appear to be turned off while it recorded your conversations.

According to CNBC, ex-CIA director Michael Hayden tried to cool everyone's nerves in a TV interview with Stephen Colbert by assuring the American public that a tool like Weeping Angel would never be used against American citizens, and that "There are bad people in the world that have Samsung TVs, too." Realistically, this explanation probably didn't calm most people down. If you haven't already thrown your smart TV through the window, the good news is you can simply disable data collection in the privacy settings.

The NSA can read your emails before your mom even receives them . U.S. lawmakers know how to sneak controversial legislation under the radar, according to CNET. In 2018, both house of Congress quietly renewed two NSA programs named Prism and Upstream, even though both programs — which were revealed to the public by Edward Snowden in 2013 — had previously earned a massive uproar from privacy advocates. What's so bad about these programs?

Let's start with Prism. This technology collects communications sent by people using digital services like email and video chat. Upstream, then, plugs into the internet's basement and roots out these communications while they're still moving through cyberspace. Prism and Upstream were allegedly created to covertly monitor the online communications of non-U.S. citizens, doing their own thing off in other countries, but the programs have been shown to "incidentally" spy on Americans as well, such as when you Skype your friend in Egypt.

They have often intercepted regular American internet traffic as well. While the ins-and-outs of how it all works are more complex, the big question that everyone should be loudly demanding answers for is whether such government programs have a right to exist in the first place. You be the judge. As if we hadn't already heard enough about the invasive technologies used by the NSA,

The Guardian explains the background details behind one of Edward Snowden's most haunting statements: "I, sitting at my desk, [could] wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email." While U.S. officials claimed this wasn't possible, the NSA's program XKeyscore certainly sounds like what Snowden was talking about. XKeyscore's training documents reveal a program capable of digging into "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet," requiring only that the user fill out a little form with some sort of justification for the search — a reason that would shockingly not need to be reviewed by the courts.

Basically, XKeyscore can mine through email contents, a person's browser history, what terms they search for, their metadata, and even real-time readings on what they're doing right now. A 2012 document contained a section titled "plug-ins," which demonstrated how XKeyscore could scan through email addresses, phone numbers, user names, chat logs, friend lists, cookies, and more. U.S. law requires the NSA to obtain a warrant if they want to monitor a U.S. citizen, but Americans talking to foreign targets, or foreign citizens altogether? No warrant required. Either way, the whole thing sounds pretty Orwellian.

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