It has been discovered that German police are using malware to spy on suspects’ computers. The particular case in question involves a suspect whose computer was deliberately infected as he passed through an airport. It was a trojan for that other OS.
The recent practice of “examining” computers as a matter of security at airports opens everyone to such an intrusion. There is also the question of whether anti-malware software that detects the malware is interfering with a police investigation or whether the practice is even legal. In Canada, airports are regulated by the federal government so cooperation between local and federal police may be involved.
This matters to Free Software. Intrusion into personal use of computers by police is just as open to abuse as the “normal” criminal element. One could take the view that the policing power of governments has corrupted governments to behave in a criminal manner as if it were somehow correct that our society be run by a criminal gang.
I don’t plan to travel with a computer unless I get a job soon but I will certainly be looking at encryption, intrusion detection, anti-malware, and complete wipes of systems that have been shipped. How long will it be before some police organization or government decides to plant their pet trojan on every PC on the planet? Wait… that’s probably already been done by the Iranians, the Israelis, the CIA, etc. Those organizations believe they know best what’s good for the world and are not shy about doing something about their delusion. Then there’s M$ and Apple and other anti-competitive businesses which have a lot to gain by controlling users. I imagine that these guys would not hesitate to “cooperate” with governments to include trojans in their OS, for a price. That means FLOSS is what we should all be using and building from source code is a good thing because source code is much easier to examine to detect malware.
There are literally hundreds of governmental organizations around the world. If they all decide to get into this game, PCs everywhere are about to slooooowwwww dowwwwnnnnn.
I hate it when technology that can be used for so much good in the world is corrupted by greed and power to enslave people.