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The CIA to use Home Appliances as Spies 

Agency director says it will ‘transform’ surveillance

By ROB WAUGH | MAIL ONLINE | MARCH 17, 2012

When people download a film from Netflix to a flat screen, or turn on web radio, they could be alerting unwanted watchers to exactly what they are doing and where they are.

David Petraeus, Director of the CIA.

Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home – the rise of ‘connected’ gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people ‘bug’ their own homes, says CIA director David Petraeus.

The CIA claims it will be able to ‘read’ these devices via the internet – and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home.

Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells.

The resultant chorus of ‘connected’ gadgets will be able to be read like a book – and even remote-controlled, according to CIA Director David Petraeus, according to a recent report by Wired’s ‘Danger Room’ blog.

Petraeus says that web-connected gadgets will ‘transform’ the art of spying – allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.

‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,’ said Petraeus.

‘Particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters –  all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.’

Petraeus was speaking to a venture capital firm about new technologies which aim to add processors and web connections to previously  ‘dumb’ home appliances such as fridges, ovens and lighting systems.

This week, one of the world’s biggest chip companies, ARM, has unveiled a new processor built to work inside ‘connected’ white goods.

The ARM chips are smaller, lower-powered and far cheaper than previous processors – and designed to add the internet to almost every kind of electrical appliance.

It’s a concept described as the ‘internet of things’.

Futurists think that one day ‘connected’ devices will tell the internet where they are and what they are doing at all times – and will be mapped by computers as precisely as Google Maps charts the physical landscape now.

Privacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation have warned of how information such as geolocation data can be misused – but as more and more devices connect, it’s clear that opportunities for surveillance will multiply.

About the author: Luis Miranda

Luis Miranda is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 17 years and almost every form of news media. He attended Montclair State University's School of Broadcasting and also obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. Luis speaks English, Spanish Portuguese and Italian.

3 Responses to The CIA to use Home Appliances as Spies

  1. Madeleine Tector (@MadeleinesSpot)

    Who cares, really? I can live without a TV, those Mao Tse-tung big black things they call TV’s. they all look alike. I think for the first time in my life here in America I walked into a store to buy a TV and had no choice, they were all the same, they were all energy efficient, according to them they were saving me 24.00 a year on energy bills, as if they knew how much I spend a year on my electric bill. In order to hear these atrocious TV’s you have to add speakers, I guess they save energy by not giving you much in the way of sound, and what kind of energy are you saving when you have to add another electrical plug to the mix, surround sound and the like? the whole thing is asinine and a rip off.

    I went into the Toshibas website and all I saw were a bunch of awards from the UN, for being green and keeping to clean energy guidelines, they were now a public/Private partnership. Poor Toshiba, I have always bought Toshiba, they were pretty good, I could not imagine them falling for this, who knows how much it is costing them to be partners with the grubby little bandits , the UN. They lost me and if anyone wants to know where I am going they can follow my neighborhood garbage truck , thats where my TV/tracking device will be and there goes one more industry. Nice going UN.

    I almost always buy two tv’s one small one for the bedroom and one large one for my living room, when one goes I replace it, now I just bought one small one for my bedroom, and when they start tracking I won’t replace that one, they already lost money . What in Sam Hill is it they want to know about us, are we so wonderful and intelligent they can’t bear to leave us for one minute? are they in Love with us, some sort of sexual facination ? Just curious because there isn’t one thing I want to know about anyone in any other country enough to spy on them or follow them around with Drones and cameras and chips, maybe they are just plain nuts, that seems more like it. Happy hunting is all I can say to these nosey holes.

  2. GANEWF

    I agree with Madeleine. What they know about me and what I do inside my own home is of little value to our National Security. The present administration, like the previous ones know already what I think of them. I let them know regularly through email (another electronic wonder). The only thing I really hate is that they are stealing my money to pay these lackies pretty handsome salaries.

  3. heretical monkey

    It’s not you the mercantilists care about per se. It’s the opportunity to track everything you do to sell you something you need or the information to third parties or to the authorities if needed, don’t take it personal, it’s just greed, and power. Same as it ever was from the beginning with these parasites.

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