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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:36 AM
Original message
Is your computer watching you?
After a great deal of cogitation and extensive research using Google, I've come to a startling, indeed terrifying, conclusion.

The significance of the name "Windows" for Microsoft's operating system hadn't struck me before. But now I realize that it's not just a metaphor for a technology that "lets you see the world", as you could say. Just like the windows in your house, it also lets the world see you! Cleary, the NSA, the CIA, and the rest of the spookocracy are watching you through your computer -- through your Windows. It's so obvious when you think about it.

So, just as you wouldn't do certain things in front of the windows of your house, be very, very careful what you do in front of your computer. Or at least pull the blinds first, which in this case means wait for the screensaver to activate.

And don't think that you're safe just because you're one of those sneering, condescending Mac users. OSX, huh? Didn't you know that the original name of the CIA was the OSS? You think that's a coincidence?

I'm still working on "Linux".
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
1. Havocdad, who is not a complete raving paranoid, is convinced the computer listens
He has noticed a strange co-inky-dink about the sender names on his spam and topics, or people we have just discussed in the area of the computer.

If he is correct, somebody IS listening, the integrated speakers are two-way. BUT, it seems more likely the information gathered is used for $$ matters (trying to sell a whole variety of pointless things) rather than basic government spying.

IF the government were to be listening, it is likely I would not be posting today, for all the naughty things I have said about it while reading links furnished by other DUers ;)
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. In our house
A lot of our conversations are in my study or my wife's, and therefore within range of one set of speakers or the other.

So far, so good.
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ProdigalJunkMail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #1
22. delete to move
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 10:49 AM by ProdigalJunkMail

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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
3. Can you say more about the sreensaver activating? Thanks.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #3
12. Come to think of it, it probably depends on the screensaver
I wouldn't trust the ones that come installed with Windows. See if you can find one that looks like curtains closing.
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Angela Shelley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:14 AM
Response to Original message
4. Watching me, watching you, oooooh
theres is nothing we can do,

except brush our hair and teeth before we visit DU.
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donsu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
5. agree - we are watched and listened to
nt
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riqster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
6. I'll start web-surfing in the nude
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 10:17 AM by riqster
...anybody watching will stop right quick. :P
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. Or, we'll see you on YouTube
Hope your house is warm.
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riqster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. There's a downside I hadn't considered. nt
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. Wayward Daughter scours YouTube for wind-down time in the evening
We could have her search 'naked at the computer' and see what turns up :hi:
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riqster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #17
32. Make sure she has Pepto handy. nt
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. self delete
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 10:43 AM by havocmom
my machine is wonky today. Maybe it doesn't like the asparagus we are casting?
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balantz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
7. I hope they don't judge nose-picking too harshly!
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
8. I'm sure it would be repulsed if it were
Watching me eat soup straight from the pot I cooked it in while nude would probably be something it would only want to see once.
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
9. Wouldn't the computer have to have a camera first?
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 10:26 AM by blogslut
I know some come with cameras pre-installed but, well, anyway. I think you're be a wee bit paranoid.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. Have you read Orwell's 1984?
He predicted TV sets watching people for the government, with no visible cameras.

Hmm, it's probably TV sets, too.

"Orwell" begins with O, which is the first letter of OS, or Operating System. That should tell you something. Also, his real name, if I'm remembering correctly, was Eric Blair. As in Tony Blair. It all fits.

(I'm convincing myself!)
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #15
24. Here's my advice
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 10:57 AM by blogslut
Take the housing off of your monitor and find the camera. See? Easy peasey. :)

Everyone might want to read the tips I gave in post #21.
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
10. As for sound
Couldn't you just set your speaker volume to zero?

I watched Live Free or Die Hard too. That bit with the camera in the ubergeek's control center was ridiculous. A true digital jedi would never have a camera in the first place. :)
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. Since your cell phone still gives you location when turned off
unless you remove the battery (so say many here at DU) I wonder if the controls at our end have much to do with whatever remote surveillance our computers may be part of.

I don't really trust anything that is still attached to a power source and/or a phone line anymore.
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #13
21. It's cool
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 10:46 AM by blogslut
Here's some real things you can do to protect your privacy:

1) Never give out your real name on the net, especially on a public message board.

2) Don't post pictures of yourself or your family on the internet - also don't post pictures of your home or cars.

3) Don't give out information on the city where you live, especially on a public message board.

4) Don't take online polls that require an email account in order to participate.

5) If you host a website, use a privacy protection service for your WHOIS info

6) Lie. If you absolutely do not need to provide correct contact information online, then lie. A perfect example would be those free online email accounts such as hotmail.

:hi:
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #21
36. It's okay, I always use the identity of the cannibal who lives down the street.
He's looking very well fed lately.

:hide:


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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #10
16. I hadn't thought about speaker volume
Or maybe you could turn the speakers to the wall, so that they can't see you.

Except that mine are cylindrical. The speaker part goes all the way around. Uh oh.
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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #10
23. You'd need a mic attached and I'd guess you could set that volume to zero.
Or just disconnect the bugger if a person were that paranoid. :P
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #23
27. True
Although some machines come with a mic hardwired into the monitor - ~shudder~ :tinfoilhat:
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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #27
35. If there's anything I'm good at it's breaking hardware
Installing the wrong drivers, accidentally disabling the device and a myriad of other mistakes I've made over the years stand as proof to my skills in that area.

If something such as this were to prove to be true, I could have a lucrative future selling my skills to the hapless victims. :P
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Kucinich4America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
19. Obviously the "Use Linux and/or Mac" posts will be all over this thread.
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 10:45 AM by Kucinich4America
But for those who must remain using Windows for the time being, for whatever reason, there are things that can be done to improve the security of your PC.

Not just the obvious anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, and firewall stuff, but closing down the things that make Windows vulnerable in the first place. Some of which are nothing but built in backdoors for M$, and others that you will NEVER have a need for on a home PC environment, even if you have a few networked machines.

Google "Disable Windows XP services" and you'll find a number of guides to help you kill the crap you don't need on your Windows installation. I'm sure there are similar sites set up for Vista, but I don't use that piece of shit, so I can't swear to that.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #19
26. Serious answer
Since everything else I've been saying here is a joke -- which I thought would be obvious, although apparently it's not.

I wouldn't go to the trouble of turning off various Windows services in order to protect myself from NSA spying. (That was the joke part.) However, it may be worth doing for some people just because those services gobble up computer resources, visible as slow response, and a lot of them aren't necessary for most users.
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. I suspected you were messing with us
I don't know your online persona well so, well, let's just say the tinfoil addiction is strong on this board sometimes. Sorry.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #28
33. I wan't trying to fool anyone
I thought it was so over the top that it would be obvious. This thread is also a spoof of another thread on DU that claims that the Vista OS is an NSA spying tool.
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #33
34. I am not accusing you of being malicious
And I am sorry I fell for what I thought was a sincere OP on your part. I have heard some pretty outrageous claims on this board and I've probably made an outrageous claim or two.

It's the times we live in. When the people in charge lie and instill fear at every given opportunity, well, as Jim McDermott said: "It's crazy making!"
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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
20. Wouldn't that require a camera and a mic?
Without those two, or with them removed I don't see how this could even be possible.

Also, it would have to send the data gathered via an internet connection. Wouldn't monitoring via a netstat (or other such) connection monitor show that?

Anyhoo...not something I'm worried about at the moment.
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ProdigalJunkMail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
25. um...er...mmmm...ok
:crazy: :rofl:
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
29. Cool. I can tell the Bush Administration they are criminals without leaving my seat.
How's the old ticker doing, Mr. Cheney? Are you healthy enough to stand trial?

Where you gonna live, Mr. Cheney, when this sorry chapter of U.S. history is over? Dubai?

I use Linux. It's not because I'm afraid of the U.S. secret police, it's because the first real operating system I used, about thirty years ago, was Unix. In comparison to Linux or Unix, Windows is a pretty crappy operating system, a hideous stinking patchwork held together with phlegm and rusty staples. It's not a garment I'd choose to wear.

Simply put, if we are are afraid to demand our Constitutional Rights, we will lose them.

Expressing our disgust and displeasure with the current government and working peacefully to displace these vial and corrupt neocons is one of those Constitutional Rights.

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Ravy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
30. Something else a lot of computer users forget.
Particularly if you play a lot of World of Warcraft, you should vacuum out your monitor regularly. All of those dead Orcs create a fire hazard when you kill them and they disolve though the ground and end up in the bottom of your monitor. Happened to a buddy of mine.

If you play SIMs, make sure to use a good virus protection program. I got a serious eye infection once....

Good post, DavidD... I was about to put you on ignore when I saw your admission.
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Bright Eyes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
31. They're watching.....
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sicksicksick_N_tired Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
37. I AM CURIOUS. Why was this moved to DU Lounge?
:shrug:

Why?

It's kinda' weird that a general topic like this would be moved,...to the Lounge.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. The Lounge has a built-in one-way filter
that would stop your computer spying on you while you read this thread. The mods thought it would be a good service to the members.

It's amazing, the filter was originally installed just to stop the corn-flake chicken coating gumming up the works here - but it turned out to have other uses too.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Either that, or
it was deemed too persiflagious.

(Don't bother looking it up, because I just made it up. It derives from "persiflage".)
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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #37
41. as if the lounge is a terrible place to move a lounge thread to?
:shrug:

:rofl:
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Kutjara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:14 PM
Response to Original message
40. I use an 256 bit AES-encrypted VPN...
Edited on Thu Nov-29-07 08:31 PM by Kutjara
...to ensure complete end-to-end security. Over this I run Tor to anonymize my surfing still further. The connection between my comp and my Wifi router is also encrypted using AES-enabled WPA2. I run packet sniffers and other intrusion-detection apps 24/7 on a dedicated server connected to my home network's DMZ, and receive hourly logs emailed to my iPhone (which also runs on a VPN whenever connected via Wifi). I use one-time email addresses for subscriptions and one time credit card numbers for online purchases. I disable the microphones, speakers and cameras on my computers unless I'm using them (including physically covering the camera and unplugging the mic). All my files are encrypted on the hard drive, and my portable flash drive is hardware encrypted and self-destructs if someone inputs the wrong password three times. I only accept cookies from a strictly limited range of sites, and even clear those every time I close my browser. I download just the headers of emails until I know who they're from. The rest get zapped, never leaving my ISP's mailserver. My machines clear all caches, logs, document histories, and passwords every time I logoff. Once a week, I defrag my hard drives and use a government-grade wipe program on the empty space.

And my wife calls me paranoid. Pfft!
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