Saturday, May 12, 2012

The CIA Wants to Spy on You through Your Dishwasher

So says Wired's Danger Room.

In other words, it's quickly becoming the military-industrial-people tracking complex. UK's the Daily Mail explains (my bold)
When people download a film from Netflix to a flatscreen, or turn on web radio, they could be alerting unwanted watchers to exactly what they are doing and where they are.

Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home – the rise of ‘connected’ gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people ‘bug’ their own homes, says CIA director David Petraeus.

The CIA claims it will be able to ‘read’ these devices via the internet – and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home.

Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells.

The resultant chorus of ‘connected’ gadgets will be able to be read like a book – and even remote-controlled, according to CIA CIA Director David Petraeus....

‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,’ said Petraeus.

. . . ‘Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters - all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.’

'Particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters - all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.' 
Petraeus was speaking to a venture capital firm about new technologies which aim to add processors and web connections to previously 'dumb' home appliances such as fridges, ovens and lighting systems. 
This week, one of the world's biggest chip companies, ARM, has unveiled a new processor built to work inside 'connected' white goods.

The ARM chips are smaller, lower-powered and far cheaper than previous processors - and designed to add the internet to almost every kind of electrical appliance.

It's a concept described as the 'internet of things'.

According to ARM Holdings web site:
ARM’s strategy is for our technology to continue to gain share in long-term structural growth markets such as mobile phones, consumer electronics and embedded digital devices. To date, ARM has licensed its technology nearly 850 times to nearly 300 ARM partners, who have shipped over 30 billion ARM-based chips.

According to ARM's annual report,  ARM has achieved a more than 95% penetration of mobile handsets.

And then the report says:

As ARM’s technology becomes increasingly applicable, this same level of penetration is possible in other application areas... 
Our Partners are planning to develop chips for a broad range of end-markets from the simplest of microcontrollers to the most advanced mobile computers. These include:
• Deeply embedded products such as automotive applications, embedded computers, microcontrollers, sensors and smartcards;
• Enterprise applications such as networking and storage; 
• Smart consumer devices such as digital TVs, mobile phones and mobile computers.
The annual report also says that Microsoft announced that the next version of Windows 8 will run on ARM processor.based chips. They also  announced that Microsoft's other PC products, such as Office and Internet Explorer would support the ARM architecture.

And that Google announced that Chrome OS will soon be available for ARM processor.based chips, to enable lower power and smaller form.factor computing devices.

They have us surrounded.


  1. The spooky thing for me is that he's BRAGGING about this. How could a concept that so creeps me out be BRAG-WORTHY to these people? And people with so much power?!?!?
    I'm goin' out for ice and candles, honey. Don't answer the phone!

  2. "They have us surrounded."
    How terrible, we're surrounded by amazing technology that improves our lives. Technology doesn't spy on people, the government does. Your commentary in the article Wenzel is just silly.

    1. Where the hell do you get the nutty impression that I am stating we are surrounded by technology and not government?

    2. Gee,

      I am trying to figure out what your point is. We have the CIA director stating that he will use this technology for surveillance purposes. We have the companies themselves apparently unconcerned or very willing to go along with it. There is also the likelihood that the companies may be using this technology to spy on us for their own purposes. But, yeah, the gadgets don't spy on us. This can be inferred from the fact that they are machines lacking in consciousness and volition, but is that supposed to make me feel comforted? Perhaps you might give consolation to Japan with "A-bombs don't kill people, governments do."

    3. While I agree that we should be concerned about the government tapping into our devices, so far there is no reason to believe that the ARM-powered devices you listed at the end of the article will be part of a nefarious plan.

      However, upon further thought I do understand why you are concerned that ARM might cooperate with the government on those devices in the future.

    4. Is Gee another CIA troll?

  3. Problem is, there's just way too many People like Gee who refuse to think and see things for what they truly are.

    I read a description of People like that once, from some Russian guy talking about how People didn't "get it" until the military boot was kicking their fat bottom into the Gulag, then they, "got it" alright.

    I keep telling myself the monster is going to fall over from its own lop-sided weight soon... then I wonder what 'soon' means.

    1. I am no fan of slippery slopes. Yes, we will continue to experience increasing surveillance, but probably not in the form of an ARM-processor backdoor on your computer or tablet. Maybe sometime in the future but not any time soon. To be sure, the government already has easier ways of accessing your information without gaining direct access to your CPU.

  4. Petraeus bragged to people wanting to make money off spying, the CIA's venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel.

    Google and Facebook collaborate with the NSA.