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When doing online research,please remember this ...


Steven Gaal
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Thanks for that info Steve. A link on that page leads to:

"tap into private conversations as Americans become increasingly conditioned, by means of the private sector, to having their every movement, web session and conversation tracked and catalogued by big brother.

Each time a new flash application requests permission to run on newer computers, you will notice that a privacy setting box pops up asking if the particular website you are surfing can access your microphone and webcam. Though the webcam is external, the microphone is internal and is a standard feature of all new models.

Now Google have gone a step further by announcing that they will use in-built microphones to listen in on user's background noise, be it television, music or radio - and then direct advertising at them based on their preferences.

"The idea is to use the existing PC microphone to listen to whatever is heard in the background, be it music, your phone going off or the TV turned down. The PC then identifies it, using fingerprinting, and then shows you relevant content, whether that's adverts or search results, or a chat room on the subject," reports the Register.

Since at least 150 million Americans are Internet-active they will all be potential targets for secret surveillance and the subsequent sell-off of all their information to unscrupulous data mining corporations and government agencies."

Not just US computers of course. How about a virus/trojan/malware that switches your mike on while displaying it being off or muted? Hmmm... perhaps an exterior mike (not plugged in unless you choose to use it) and physically disconnect or inject some super glue into the often very tiny mike holes. For resell value, disconnecting is prob better except unless you're not sure what you're doing when opening the box or laptop.

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Thanks for that info Steve. A link on that page leads to:

...

Each time a new flash application requests permission to run on newer computers, you will notice that a privacy setting box pops up asking if the particular website you are surfing can access your microphone and webcam. Though the webcam is external, the microphone is internal and is a standard feature of all new models.

Now Google have gone a step further by announcing that they will use in-built microphones to listen in on user's background noise, be it television, music or radio - and then direct advertising at them based on their preferences.

...

More than a bit disconcerting, and quite illegal, I'm sure - but hey, why should the law get in the way of greed and power? We've all seen Google's "neutrality" on things, as demonstrated by the way links on this site drop from existence in favor of "party line" pages (like McAdams, etc)...

This is less of an issue for desktop computers, as very few of them have the built-in microphone feature. On the other hand, built-in mics seem to be nearly universal on laptops. I've never really programmatically looked into clandestine ways to turn on the microphone and record. Suffice it to say that there are probably ways to accomplish exactly what you postulated. Whether they can remain undetected, however, is another issue.

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There's also the small speakers built into such things as modems. They can act as mikes as well, certainly not with the fidelity of a real mike, but sound does cause the membrane to vibrate and a signal is generated. The wiring is there and is physically closed. Any little speaker like that, of which a computer may have more than one, could theoretically do this. What's to stop that signal from being read and transmitted? (< not rhetorical)

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