basically tech

8 Who's in charge of your PC?

Thursday 19th October, 2006

Thanks to Edward Snowden, it is starting to become apparent that almost all governments have a blatant disregard for their citizens' privacy.
Rob. March 2015.

Do you know what's running on your system? The Swiss government are mulling over plans to surreptitiously install trojans onto people's PCs so that they can monitor VOIP transmissions. A trojan is a hidden program running on your computer without your knowledge.

The application, essentially a piece of Trojan code, is also able to turn on the microphone on the target PC and monitor not just VoIP conversations, but also any other ambient audio.
The company claims that the software is able to skirt round any firewalls and evade detection by any antivirus applications already installed on the target machine.

Those claims in the second quote are a bit broad, and certainly not sustainable for the future. The worrying thing is, if the Swiss government is proposing it, what other governments are thinking about it?

The thing about proprietary software is that if a government decides it wants a way in, it's hard for a company, even one like Microsoft, to refuse. Think of the benefits they could gain if a government, wishing to monitor its citizens, decided to actively promote (or decree) the use of software from a single, controllable entity.

With Open Source software, all those little backdoors become visible. Even if you're not a programmer, they become visible to thousands of others who are, and who are conscientious, and who will talk. You still have a choice, for now.