People live under the assumption that everything in life is going to be OK if they do what society at large seems to demand from them. Just obey, you’ll be OK; but what if underneath that skin of safety, there’s a world of doubt and fear — like wolves at the gate of the fence that keeps the sheep safe, or even wolves in sheep’s clothing?
In Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America, Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin paints an unflattering portrait of MySpace co-founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson.
The pair ran a shady operation called eUniverse, which sold wrinkle cream and ink-jet cartridges over the Internet; they lifted most of MySpace’s features from another social-networking service, Friendster, but skirted privacy issues; and the roots of MySpace, which now reaches an estimated 133 million active users worldwide, are in spam and porn.
Great guardians of your personal data there. They seem to care first about the cash they get, and only secondarily about the industry or what effects it would have on others.
Two separate research teams, from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and security consultancy Inverse Path have taken a close look at the electromagnetic radiation that is generated every time a computer keyboard is tapped. It turns out that this keystroke radiation is actually pretty easy to capture and decode — if you’re a computer hacker-type, that is.
The Ecole Polytechnique team did its work over the air. Using an oscilloscope and an inexpensive wireless antenna, the team was able to pick up keystrokes from virtually any keyboard, including laptops. “We discovered four different ways to recover the keystroke of a keyboard,” said Matin Vuagnoux, a Ph.D. student at the university. With the keyboard’s cabling and nearby power wires acting as antennas for these electromagnetic signals, the researchers were able to read keystrokes with 95 percent accuracy over a distance of up to 20 meters (22 yards), in ideal conditions.
Let me tell you something: this technique is not unknown to spy agencies, law enforcement, and big corporate “security” firms that specialize in grabbing business secrets. It was easily discovered, which means it has been known for years by those with more resources to throw at the problem.
And finally, to chill your bones:
Reporters Without Borders today issued a report entitled â€œEnemies of the Internetâ€ in which it examines Internet censorship and other threats to online free expression in 22 countries.
Reporters Without Borders has placed 10 other governments â€œunder surveillanceâ€ for adopting worrying measures that could open the way to abuses. The organisation draws particular attention to Australia and South Korea, where recent measures may endanger online free expression.
â€œNot only is the Internet more and more controlled, but new forms of censorship are emerging based on the manipulation of information,â€ Reporters Without Borders said. â€œOrchestrating the posting of comments on popular websites or organising hacker attacks is also used by repressive regimes to scramble or jam online content.â€
And these are the ones that made it into print.
Trust where trust is right. Trusting people with profit models, or those who have to supervise 300 million unruly people of conflicting ideologies… is unwise.