Is the CIA really spying on you through your toaster?

Many hysterical proclamations have been made regarding statements David Petraeus, head of the CIA, made regarding using common household items for surveillance.

Could the CIA use your toaster, laptop, dishwasher, or TV remote to spy on you?  I’m sure they can.  Did Petraeus really say they were using for that now?  Not quite.  Here’s the quote in question from the CIA’s website:

“The current “Internet of PCs” will move, of course, toward an “Internet of Things”—of devices of all types—50 to 100 billion of which will be connected to the Internet by 2020. As you know, whereas machines in the 19thcentury learned to do, and those in the 20th century learned to think at a rudimentary level, in the 21st century, they are learning to perceive—to actually sense and respond. Key applications developed by our In-Q-Tel investment companies are focused on technologies that are driving the Internet of Things. These include:

  • Item identification, or devices engaged in tagging;
  • Sensors and wireless sensor networks—devices that indeed sense and respond;
  • Embedded systems—those that think and evaluate;
  • And, finally, nanotechnology, allowing these devices to be small enough to function virtually anywhere.

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—the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.

In practice, these technologies could lead to rapid integration of data from closed societies and provide near-continuous, persistent monitoring of virtually anywhere we choose. “Transformational” is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies, particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Taken together, these developments change our notions of secrecy and create innumerable challenges—as well as opportunities.”

Not quite the ominous admission some have purported as was said.  The best analysis of these remarks I’ve found was on Securology @ blogspot, posted here.

Bottom line – if the the CIA/ FBI decide to place you under surveillance, they will be able to do it more easily and to get more information on you

  • the more your house contains wired appliances,
  • the more you use internet connected devices like computers and cars,
  • the more you move your personal life and information onto the internet.

So if you really are worried about “the man” listening in on you, ditch the Iphone & IPad pronto!


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