Google's black box

Discussion in 'Technical' started by CATO, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    No need to tell us how you're running an earlier version of Netscape 1.2.1a inside a Faraday Cage deep inside your bunker. This is primarily for those who aren't really "tech savvy" and don't interact as an FYI and those who use Chromium (the OS version of Chrome). Also, this technology has been on Android phones for a while, so, it's not really something that's new (and no need to tell us that you don't use that feature of your phone or use two cans and a string). #NotImpressed

    To those of you this is meant for--don't let the article scare you too much. You can turn the feature off--you just needed to know that it was there. However, even after you turn this off, you're mic is still on, so, disabling your built in mic might be the way to go--don't forget to tape up your webcam when not in use:

    Got Chrome? Google Just Silently Downloaded This Onto Your Computer – Free Patriot Post

    Got Chrome? Google Just Silently Downloaded This Onto Your Computer
    By Patriot Post Staff on June 22, 2015

    On June 17th, Google did not announce (the news broke) that the DARPA affiliated corporation has been silently downloading audio listeners onto every computer that has Chrome.

    This effectively means that Google sees your privacy as piddly-squat, which does not necessarily come off as a surprise, when one considers Google’s censorship of We Are Change – this very organization as nothing. The website Private Internet Access‘s Rick Falkvinge reported how he came to understand this new policy:

    “It looked like just another bug report. “When I start Chromium, it downloads something.” Followed by strange status information that notably included the lines “Microphone: Yes” and “Audio Capture Allowed: Yes”.


    Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room.”

    Without going into detail, Falkvinge describes the nature of open-sourced/free-software and how it relies on transparency and the innovation of many software programmers before being finished as a final product. The transparency allows the user to know that the open-sourced software truly does what it claims to do. Chromium, the open-source version of Google Chrome is supposed to operate the same way. Only Google abused the nature of open-sourced transparency, and by-passed the process that would have prevented this from happening.

    Google rationalized that enabling the ability to be eavesdropped via your personal computer was well worth it, because now “Ok, Google” works! Now when you say certain words, Chrome begins searching preliminaries – is it truly worth losing the stability of your privacy though? Obviously, it is Google’s servers that respond to what is being said along with your computer. So a computer black-box was installed, hooked onto a private corporation’s server and now has the ability to eavesdrop on you and Google had no intention to let anyone know about it!

    Eventually Google did respond to the accusation, in which Falkvinge “paraphrased”:

    “1) Yes, we’re downloading and installing a wiretapping black-box to your computer. But we’re not actually activating it. We did take advantage of our position as trusted upstream to stealth-insert code into open-source software that installed this black box onto millions of computers, but we would never abuse the same trust in the same way to insert code that activates the eavesdropping-blackbox we already downloaded and installed onto your computer without your consent or knowledge. You can look at the code as it looks right now to see that the code doesn’t do this right now.

    2) Yes, Chromium is bypassing the entire source code auditing process by downloading a pre-built black box onto people’s computers. But that’s not something we care about, really. We’re concerned with building Google Chrome, the product from Google. As part of that, we provide the source code for others to package if they like. Anybody who uses our code for their own purpose takes responsibility for it. When this happens in a Debian installation, it is not Google Chrome’s behavior, this is Debian Chromium’s behavior. It’s Debian’s responsibility entirely.

    3) Yes, we deliberately hid this listening module from the users, but that’s because we consider this behavior to be part of the basic Google Chrome experience. We don’t want to show all modules that we install ourselves.”

    The writer describes that “software switches” are no longer enough to protect against this type of eavesdropping, software switches are programs that turn off your webcam/mic etc,. Really, the author feels a physical switch that cuts electrical connection to the device is required to prevent this. It is an odd thing to observe for me, because many people were furious when news of the NSA’s technological trawler of private information became common knowledge. When Google silently attempts to install even more passage ways for your intimate information to be siphoned, not much is said about it.
  2. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter+++

    Soon enough, it will be required that all households have an active internet conection. It will be rationalized that it is for the public's safty. Children require easy access to the internet. To improve their "education". Think of the comfort of knowing that your home will be monitored 24/7, and if there is a fire, or a break in, the authorities will be able to respond quickly and save the day!!! This smack's of big brother!

    It is interesting to note that some unpopular agenda's are being incouraged by none profit, for profit, or volinteer group's. All for the betterment of society. The fact that Google is doing this is no suprise. Would be of no suprise for me if it would be leaked that Google, and others, had a large profitable .gov contract.

    And Google is doing this through the open source??? Is there possibly a reason to have doubt's about the open source project..
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  3. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    And just how is this different from the criminal act of wiretapping? Sounds like a great basis for a major class-action lawsuit, with both Google and DARPA Affiliated Corp.individually and severally liable.

    Lottsa people have TVs in their bedrooms. Isn't it great to know that the porn sites will soon have millions of amateur videos to post that they didn't have to get model releases for? And what about the business that have TYs in their conference rooms for visual presentations? Isn't it great to know that their private business meetings can now be watched live by their every competitor--and China?

    Oh, yeah--and what does the US Military have to worry about? It's not like they ever actually have strategic conferences anymore.
    Or, at least, not by themselves.
  4. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Wiretapping laws are about keeping .gov from spying on you, not your neighbors. They can watch the show every night, if you leave the drapes open.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Goggle Chrome is NOT something that is snuck onto ANYONEs Computer... You do ACTUALLY have to download it, YOURSELF, and Authorize it, for Installation ....Yourself.... and if you do so without knowing EXACTLY what you are installing....That is TOTALLY your OWN Fault......
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    So is it opt IN or opt OUT? Makes a difference to sheep.
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    It is OPT IN.... but you had better KNOW what you are OPT IN'ing, or you get what they are serving.... Unless you buy Crome already installed on your fancy NEW Laptop.... then IT would be OPT-OUT... and I would ALWAYS consider a Complete Erasure, and Reloading of JUST the OS Basic, for ANY NEW Computer... As Stand Operation Procedure....
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    No. It's not. Not when the language used is either deceiving, or confusing. We are NOT all up to your level of computereese. Nor, do you always know what you are agreeing to, because it just looks like standard (cover my ass) boilerplate. It just seems to have that one little line (may contain peanuts) where it will be overlooked.
    I think they hire lawyers to intensionally make what you are reading SOUND plausable, and safe, while really agreeing to give up your firstborn, your tax refund, and your liberty. (Exaggeration).
    So no, if it is hidden, overly leagaleezed, or obscure, I do NOT find it to be reasonable to assume the customer is at fault.
    If I need a translator to tell what I am agreeing to, it's wrong.
    Would the company be free of liability, if every laptop had a single shot bullet aimed at your belly, and the License Agreement said "do not sit in front of laptop when it first fires up".? Without a very clear understanding of what was about to happen? No, they would be crucified.
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