The Null Device

Your dashboard has ears

In the US, the FBI have been secretly using car navigation systems to eavesdrop on suspects. Under post-9/11 laws, the FBI can compel a service provider to allow them to spy on a customer, and have been doing so with the on-board vehicle recovery systems (which contain a microphone in the dashboard which, conveniently, can be remotely controlled and monitored). Unfortunately, the technique blocks emergency services, and so an appeals court has just limited the technique (which is probably the only reason we've heard of it).

Several questions arise from this: firstly, if the FBI can do this, what's to prevent others with fewer legal safeguards from doing this? (I.e., the CIA/MI6/Mossad/ASIO, Colombian drug cartels, even some of those unemployed Eastern European technological geniuses.) The current system does involve the FBI going through the service provider with a court order, but what's to prevent an agency with more resources (or fewer constraints) from spoofing the service provider's systems, or cracking into them and subverting them from within? And secondly, how many other everyday devices in your home have hidden microphones which can be remotely activated by law enforcement agencies, and which you don't know about because they've never been ruled against?

There are 2 comments on "Your dashboard has ears":

Posted by: mitch http://www.buffyworld.com/angel/season4/transcripts/85_tran.php Fri Nov 21 10:14:04 2003

"Wow. People used to think that *I* was paranoid... I mean, don't get me wrong. I still got the implants in my head. C.I.A. is still listening in. It just doesn't bother me anymore. Instead, I—I beam Jasmine's love up to their satellite, you know? Share the love with those M.K.-Ultra bastards."

Posted by: bryan http:// Sat Nov 22 20:56:41 2003

hmm, what's to prevent me doing it!

reach for the stars, that's what I always say.

hmm2, I wonder if fed cars have online navigational systems.

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