Is it time we took a stance against hackers both working for themselves or for law enforcement? We have known for some time now that governments can, and do, sneak into our computers, phones, tablets, and other devices.
What can we do about it? Well, not much really. If you trust governments to remain within the law you are living in a dream world. However, we must remember that by hacking into criminals or terrorists devices, law enforcement has, and can, continue to prevent major incidents.
FBI Director James Comey recently highlighted this very dilemma when he admitted that he puts tape over the webcam in his personal laptop to stop hackers from watching him when he’s at home. His comment sparked a debate whether this type of secrecy is necessary, or even appropriate.
Comey admits he puts a piece of tape over the webcam lens on his laptop #KenyonCSAD
— The Kenyon Collegian (@KenyonCollegian) April 7, 2016
There has been a lot of hysteria over Big Brother’s keenness for eavesdropping on the general public. However, it hit an all-time high when Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the National Security Agency’s activities.
Put that together with the reported ability of the FBI to hack into people’s computers and access their webcams, the prospects of your devices being hijacked to gain insight into your private life is not entirely without foundation.
But, let’s take a more realistic look at this — do you really think there is someone out their within the government sitting at their computer just watching you? Have sensational headlines from the media really made you feel that the government is out to get you?
Yes, I will be the first person to say governments have a lot to answer for. All I can say is I’m happy not to be in China where if you write something on your computer that the government doesn’t like, you may end up in jail, or worse still, you may just disappear.
Comey’s comments over placing the tape over his webcam came shortly after he reached out to technology firms asking them not to manufacture unhackable devices. This request was made over the recent legal row with Apple, where the FBI was demanding to be given access to the iPhone that belonged to the perpetrators of the San Bernardino shootings last December.
The FBI said that by accessing the information — which they did — it may provide key intelligence into terrorist networks operating within U.S. borders. Is this a bad thing? It’s up to the individual to decide.
We must remember — to be safer we may need to give a little, however, we mustn’t give up too much either. While cyber-geniuses have the electronic weaponry needed to spy on us, Comey has come up with one anti-spyware appliance that can’t be hacked — that simple piece of tape.