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Is Big Brother Watching you and recording everything you do?

by dhrwfan / March 8, 2008 9:16 AM PST

Is Big Brother Watching you and recording everything you do??

Everything you do and click on using your computer is recorded and saved somewhere.

Your server knows your IP address and every web site you click on, when you clicked {8:21 PM March 8,2008} on it and how long{45 minutes} you were on it.

People will argue that this is not so but they are wrong?

If your PC is up to date with Direct X and other Java software not only can a web site scan and see everything on your PC in seconds but they can record your IP address and identity and street address and name.

Don?t take my word for it test it yourself?

Go to a bunch of websites and click on digital camera?s and watch what happens?you will get emails advertising digital camera and mail delivery to your door of digital camera deals. Same for auto?s and other merchandise..

How is this?? I bought my son Dragon Naturally Speaking 8.0 and was helping him learn how to use it so I {live in North Carolina} installed it to see how it works so I could help him.{He is a science teacher in South Carolina} I used it for a week or two and then uninstalled it because I can type really really fast?.He installed it and registered it in his name.

I never registered it at all and only had it on my PC a week or two and three months later got a phone call from Dragon Naturally Speaking asking me about their program I was running on my PC. I have never ever had any contact with Dragon Naturally Speaking whatsoever.

I bought Network Magic to test it and am amazed at what the program can do?I don?t like it but it amazes me, that it can record and report everything done on a PC {date and time} and send an email to the Network Administrator.

Is Big Brother Watching you and recording everything you do???YES YES YES

You have no privacy whatsoever on a computer. Don?t think for one second ?Ghost Surf? allows you to surf undetected or unrecorded. WRONG?they can record everything you do no matter how you try to hide or use proxies.

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Not entirely true

That's not all entirely true.

While it's best to assume that you have very little privacy on the Internet, it's a bit overboard to think that everything you do can be tracked.

You're just one of millions of people who may go to some particular site, EVERY DAY. That alone affords you some limited degree of anonymity. Sifting through a web server's access log is incredibly tedious work, and then matching that to a particular person is even more work.

Also, web server logs ONLY list access times. They don't monitor how long you've been on some site, because the amount of resources that would take for a large site is incredibly prohibitive. They can effectively reconstruct some of that, by matching two IP addresses and then calculating the difference in times between requests... But if I visit the Cnet home page, and then never click on anything else, they can't tell if I spent 5 minutes or 5 hours looking at the page.

Your Dragon Naturally Speaking example is more likely that they got a list of people who purchased their program from various resellers, and then hired some telemarketing company to call the people. Not because they somehow tracked you over the Internet. They probably tracked you through your credit card. Or maybe your Son registered the program and then for some reason only known to him, put down your phone number or address.

It could also just be that some "phone home" type function was put into the software. Adobe was recently called out about this sort of thing.

You've been watching far too many movies and TV shows which make it seem easy to track a bad guy through traffic cameras and tracing an IP address on the Internet only takes a few seconds. The reality is, it's a lot of hard work, it's very expensive, and a lot of the things depicted on TV are as fictional as the shows themselves.

Yes, you can be tracked, but yes there are also ways to cover your tracks. To a degree anyway. Someone with the expertise and resources can usually track you down no matter how well you cover your tracks, but that's NOT your average software company or marketing firm. You are just another face in the crowd. One entry in a database of tens of thousands.

Let me put it this way. I do some consulting work for a private practice of some mental health therapists. Every now and then we get to talking as I'm working, and you learn interesting little nuggets. One of the most fundamental things you should know about life, but most people don't seem to grasp, is that not everything is about you. If you wore the same clothes two days in a row, I'd bet money that half the people you see every day wouldn't even notice. Same goes for pretty much everything else. Other people just do not pay that much attention to you as a general rule. Other people are too wrapped up in their own narcissistic fantasy about their own perceived flaws. Put real simply... How much detail do you remember about some random person you pass in the street, or in a store? That's about how much attention other people pay you.

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Good post.
by dhrwfan / March 8, 2008 10:37 AM PST
In reply to: Not entirely true

I agree but my post is accurate.

I have used the "how did I dress yesterday" as an example many times...

Really know one cares what someone does.

Dan thinks they are looking in his bedroom and says he is NOT paranoid.. funny stuff.

I like your post but my post is on target.

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Not entirely
by Jimmy Greystone / March 8, 2008 11:38 AM PST
In reply to: Good post.

Your post is not entirely accurate. You're using what is POSSIBLE and presenting it as if it is common practice. So at the very least, you're misrepresenting the facts.

The average web user has very little to worry about, provided they have a system free from spyware, viruses, trojans, rootkits, etc. The sad fact is, most people just willingly give out all kinds of information, simply because they're asked. There have been numerous studies done, and you can get someone to give you a very sensitive password for cheap trinkets. Granted some of those people may give false passwords, or just go and immediately change them, but we all know probably 90%+ won't.

It is truly astounding to see what kinds of information people will give you if you simply put a textbox on a web page asking for it. That is a MUCH bigger threat to personal privacy than any attempts at tracking you that might be employed by less than scrupulous marketing companies.

So if you want to put the fear of the gods into someone, you should be going after them for giving out all the sensitive information they do. Not going on about things that are possible, but not widely done outside of criminal investigations.

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Who deleted my post and why?
by RetroDan / March 8, 2008 2:42 PM PST
In reply to: Good post.

Who deleted my post and why?

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Are You Talking About Your Posts In The Vista Forum?
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / March 9, 2008 4:22 AM PDT
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Deleted Post
by RetroDan / March 9, 2008 6:20 AM PDT

No I was referring to my previous post here about people looking into windows et. al.
A previous poster responded to it, but now the original is gone.

Not a big deal, seems no one is really interested in learning the truth.

Any real questions about Microsoft spying for US government is reduced, probably on purpose, to a useless and off-topic political discussion.

If China wants to break into US computers, that is their prerogative, they are a sovereign Nation.
What China does is not the topic under discussion.

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Truth?? I See...Is China Mentioned In This Thread?
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / March 9, 2008 7:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Deleted Post

Sorry, I did not see such a post in this forum..

You keep referring to something in another forum. (The Vista link I provided above.) It's part of the reason duplicate topics in different forums are discouraged.. Few can follow the discussion correctly. This topic has been discussed before...as described in the Vista discussion..

You stated: "Not a big deal, seems no one is really interested in learning the truth."

I don't think you've been watching... You must have missed it when Microsoft's "Genuine Advantage Notification Tool" began phoning home to Microsoft...or when the Sony rootkit placement was discovered on their discs and brought to the forefront by Microsoft techs..etc. The world is "interested"..

As to the "Truth"... try to not let paranoia reign and please provide facts, or links to facts, and then we can all make our own decisions as to what is true. Maybe you're interested in something that really isn't true at all. So far, in these discussions, it can be shown that a number of programs "phone home" for a variety of reasons. Websites and search engines seek your information with cookies, etc. Spyware, malware, and hackers do the same thing. (Common sense and security programs are available which will generally prevent the above items from occuring.) Likewise, Internet Service Providers keep records of the traffic of their customers. It generally takes a court order to allow your information to be relinquished by the ISP. With the wide variety of malware tools available, even the newbie user can determine the things their Windows computer is doing and attempt to block them..

As to whether that means the Government is "spying" on all computer users, (U.S., U.K., or any other), such facts still haven't been provided to prove such is taking place.. Still, the solution is simple for those who are concerned..

1. Don't use Windows.. (Other O.S. are available.)

2. Don't use the Internet.

3. PROVE that such is a fact, make it known to all the world, and let the lawyers resolve the conflict.

This forum is a "Computer Help" forum and as such, if you feel your computer isn't working correctly, or legally, then fix it.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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?.?.?.
by JGutierrezOxnard / January 23, 2013 1:44 PM PST
In reply to: Good post.

lol

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Let's see...

1.) "Everything you do and click on using your computer is recorded and saved somewhere."
-> Not everything. For a control, disconnect your computer from the internet. (Not all computers are connected to the internet and you claimed everything done on every computer is recorded.) Now, play a video game for 30 days and at the end find that XX terabyte MPEG file. or that XX gigabyte file the contains the exact coordinates of the mouse every time you clicked it. A lot is recorded, but watch your usage of the word everything.

2.) "Your server knows your IP address and every web site you click on, when you clicked {8:21 PM March 8,2008} on it"
-> True, though the phrase "your server" isn't accurate.

3.) "and how long{45 minutes} you were on it."
-> Nope. As Jimmy Greystone said, they can estimate but have no accurate measurement. Just use the Network Magic app you bought...is there a communication going out every second stating what website you're viewing? Nope.

4.) "a web site scan and see everything on your PC in seconds"
-> That's not feasible. Consider the bandwidth needed to access those 4GB MPEGs. Or how long it takes you to see everything on your PC. Do you believe someone sitting 1,000 miles away can make your computer go faster than you can a foot away? Or how about that firewall you have? Or your security settings?

5.) "they can record your IP address and identity and street address and name."
-> Nope. They can find out where the nearest ISP center is, and that's not always in the same city. And your name? That's not part of every outgoing communication. Possible to subpoena it from the ISP? Yes. Possible to hack your computer and search for a reference to your identity in a file? Yes. Generally available? Not by a long shot.

6.) "Go to a bunch of websites and click on digital camera?s and watch what happens?you will get emails advertising digital camera and mail delivery to your door of digital camera deals."
-> Only if you join a mailing list or have spyware on your machine. Remember, many companies sell their mailing lists to third-party advertising groups, so you have to read the fine print first. You're looking at the wrong source.

7.) "Is Big Brother Watching you and recording everything you do"
-> And who, may I ask, is Big Brother? Do I know him? Or is it a her? (// End sarcasm)

I don't always agree with what Jimmy Greystone has to say about Big Brother-type topics, but I agree wholeheartedly with him on this one. You're taking an extreme possibility and claiming it's true for everyone, everywhere.

John

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Good post John.
by dhrwfan / March 9, 2008 8:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Let's see...

And I agree with you too so I guess I am back tracking a little and I want you to know I really don't care what any one tracks on a computer.

I just wanted to post for Harry the Home Owner that thinks he is not being recorded when he is ON the internet... Here are some things I found out in about a half hour..

I agree with all laws dealing with catching criminals and child porn scum.
Here is what I found so far..Notice they are all backed up by urls.

I read a well written article about "Ghost Surf" a few years ago debunking and laughing at it and saying it is false advertising because if any one wanted "key word WANTED" to track your on line activity it is easy as can be. I can't find the story.

Anyway here is what I found so far:

Good post again.

Example #1 as evidence with link to authenticate and they are a lot smarter today eight years later. Year 2000

I have to repeat again, I really don't care what information they collect and just wanted the average guy to realize his every move and everything he emails and clicks on and says is recorded and can be subpoenaed from his ISP and used against him in court.

Here is an example of what ?real net work? did and it?s just the tip of the iceberg.

http://www.grc.com/downloaders.htm

Example #2 Year 2006 FBI and AG seek ISP?s to retain records.

The FBI Director and Attorney General asked the ISPs to retain - for a period of about two years - records of all Internet traffic because ISPs create records of virtually everything that virtually everyone does virtually.

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/406/2

Example #3 Has AT&T Lost Its Mind? Year 2008

If the company means what it says, we're looking at the beginnings of a private police state.

http://www.slate.com/id/2182152

Example #4. Your ISP as Net watchdog. Year 2005

Data retention rules could permit police to obtain records of e-mail chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity months after they took place.

http://www.news.com/Your-ISP-as-Net-watchdog/2100-1028_3-5748649.html


Example #5 GOP revives ISP-tracking legislation. Year 2007

Employees of any Internet provider who fail to store that information face fines and prison terms of up to one year, the bill says. The U.S. Justice Department could order the companies to store those records forever.
http://www.news.com/GOP-revives-ISP-tracking-legislation/2100-1028_3-6156948.html?tag=st.ref.goo
Example #6. JUNKBUSTERS Privacy Headlines Year 1996
Be aware that as you browse the Web, junk data about you is being collected with your every mouseclick. Some is even stored in your own files as cookies. The controllers of this data may know who you are and may be selling detailed information about what you search for and which pages you visit.

http://www.junkbusters.com/junkdata.html

Example #7. Privacy Groups Dismiss Microsoft NSA Denial. Year 2007

Microsoft moved swiftly on Friday to deny allegations that it included an NSA (U.S. National Security Agency) back door into the Windows operating system.
http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB19990906S0003

Example #8. NSA Helps Microsoft with Windows Vista. Year 2007 This one was really interesting.
For the first time, the giant software maker is acknowledging the help of the secretive agency, better known for eavesdropping on foreign officials and, more recently, U.S. citizens as part of the Bush administration's effort to combat terrorism. The agency said it has helped in the development of the security of Microsoft's new operating system -- the brains of a computer -- to protect it from worms, Trojan horses and other insidious computer attackers.
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/01/nsa_helps_micro_1.html

Example #9. Dual_EC_DRBG Added to Windows Vista Year 2007
Microsoft has added the random-number generator Dual_EC-DRBG to Windows Vista, as part of SP1. Yes, this is the same RNG that could have an NSA backdoor.
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/12/dual_ec_drbg_ad.html

#10. . Microsoft denies Vista back door rumors. Year 2007

Microsoft has denied persistent reports that it is considering adding a back door to Windows Vista's encryption system at the request of law enforcement agencies.

http://weblog.infoworld.com/techwatch/archives/005471.html
#11. What Search Sites Know About You. Year 2007
"You should think about what you put in that search box, because it may not be as anonymous as you think," said Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineWatch.com.
http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2005/04/67062
#12. AOL apologizes for release of user search data. Year 2006
AOL apologized on Monday for releasing search log data on subscribers that had been intended for use with the company's newly launched research site.

http://www.news.com/2100-1030_3-6102793.html?part=rss&tag=6102793&subj=news

#13 How much does your Internet Service Provider know about you?
your Internet activity is logged by your Internet Service Provider. They have a record of every page you visit, how long you spend there and what downloads you make. Your email activity is logged too and the addresses you correspond with are recorded. All your incoming mail may be backed-up - copied for security reasons and stored elsewhere.

http://www.tinhat.com/internet_privacy/isp_data_collection.html

#14. What every Web site can find out about you.
Thought your little visit to www.sexysheep.com was anonymous? Think again. The Internet gives an image of anonymity, but dig a little deeper and you'll find it's a false front.
http://www.tinhat.com/internet_privacy/webl_site_data_collection.html
#15. Privacy at work: your intimate friend, the network manager.
How private is your computer at work? If it's on a company network, the answer is not very private at all.
http://www.tinhat.com/internet_privacy/privacy_at_work.html

#16. Internet monitoring by police and intelligence services.
As a generalization, your privacy level on the Internet is lower than on a regular phone line.
http://www.tinhat.com/surveillance/secret_service.html
#17. Echelon , the Master of all.
Articles on Echelon have appeared in the New York Times and on the BBC. It's not something that's been dreamed up by the more impressionable of the world's citizens.

Here you will find links to Echelon information:
ZDNet tells pretty much the whole story.
Wired News - 1 - reporting rationally.
Wired News - 2 - proof?
Paul Wolf pages - out of date but some good links to articles.
Echelon Watch - over-dramatized.
FireNet NZ - further details.
Hermetic Systems - a bit off the wall, but the best links page.
Articles on Echelon have appeared in the New York Times and on the BBC. It's not something that's been dreamed up by the more impressionable of the world's citizens.
There's a European Parliament report called "An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control" that discusses Echelon. Though the original isn't on the Internet, you can see a copy here on Paul Wolf's site.
Internet monitoring
Code breaking by authorities
Mobile phone monitoring

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Just remember...
by John.Wilkinson / March 9, 2008 9:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Good post John.

1.) Proposals do not equate to laws or actual implementations. That's all the slate.com and the first two news.com articles are at this point...proposals.

2.) I was questionable of the tinhat.com references, but the material is appears to be accurate, though I'm not sold one way or the other on the MI5 claim. But they didn't confirm your claim of your name/address/e-mail address being picked up by the websites, only latest URLs visited, screen resolution, etc.

3.) The AOL leak, among others, is indeed a concern, but doesn't substantiate the Big Brother argument beyond individual search companies logging searches with uniquely-identifiable info. I disagree with their policies to some degree, but it's not a secret.

4.) JunkBusters' website = good tips.

5.) The Microsoft-NSA encryption backdoor is one legitimate concern you can relate to Big Brother, although it still doesn't directly correlate to "Big Brother" watching and recording everything we do. (Being able to go through a back door, assuming it exists, does not mean they are doing it and cannot be done until they have said files.)

In short, there's a good deal of truth to your new/revised post, and while there is reason to be concerned, to a degree, it's not near the level of 1984.

John

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That's taking a bit far
by Jimmy Greystone / March 9, 2008 9:42 AM PDT
In reply to: Good post John.

You're taking things a bit far, and stretching them right up to the breaking point.

Example #1: Anything having to do with the GRC website is not a credible source. The guy behind that site, Steve Gibson, is NOT a security expert, he just fancies himself one. He does do the same thing as you, in that he takes some fairly innocuous thing and turns it into this giant convoluted conspiracy theory. One of his most recent blunders was claiming that some security flaw in I think it was the printer subsystem of Windows was evidence of some intentional back door. It wasn't, it was just your average run of the mill remotely exploitable security flaw, of which there have been scores, if not hundreds, in Windows. Why should this one be so special is the obvious question. Also, if you're going to put in a back door program, why install it in the printer subsystem? But I digress... Moral of the story here is, the GRC website is like Wikipedia... Anyone can claim to be an expert, but not everyone who claims to be an expert really is.

Example #2 is involving the FBI so it likely involves some sort of criminal investigation. Governments, and government agencies, will have the resources to do this sort of thing. Not so for your average marketing firm. And multi-billion dollar conglomerate companies are almost universally publicly traded, which means they're subject to SEC scrutiny. They have to make regular filings that accounts for pretty much every last penny spent and earned by the company. While not impossible, it would be pretty hard to hide such massive expenses, and then all it would take is one disgruntled accountant turn whistle-blower to create a huge scandal on the order of Enron and Arthur Anderson.

Example #3 is something to be concerned about, but there's been such public backlash about it, that AT&T has backed off the idea considerably.

Example #4 isn't exactly anything new, even in 2005. Of course it likely will involve the need for a warrant. Especially after all the flack the major telecos took for the NSA wiretapping scandal, most ISPs are likely going to insist on a warrant before they hand over such data. Of course ever since IRC was invented, you have to figure that someone's IRC client might be saving a log of everything said. Same with email and a lot of other things. These have been possible since the beginning of the Internet, it's just now a lot of the mainstream press is starting to catch up.

Example #5 I do believe was never passed into law, and with a democrat controlled congress, likely won't be for some time. Especially with all the political backlash the Bush admin has taken over the NSA wiretapping scandal.

Example #6 is easily thwarted by deleting cookies, preventing cookies from being set in the first place, etc. Even then, in the US at least, there are laws that prevent companies from matching that data to actual names of people. There have been occasional abuses... DoubleClick (now part of Google) was fined pretty heavily for doing that once.

Example #7 I am inclined to disbelieve until someone comes up with proof. I'm far from a Microsoft supporter, but they are a magnet for frivolous lawsuits and completely insane conspiracy theories. A few years back Microsoft was sued because when you typed in "monkey" to Word's clip art search thing, it came back with some image that apparently offended some black advocacy group. They then decided that this was some kind of intentional example of racism on the part of Microsoft and sued. I don't recall the outcome, but I certainly hope it was dismissed with prejudice and a fine was issued to the plaintiffs for wasting the time of the courts.

Example #8 is another case where people amaze me. The NSA was most likely working with Microsoft to improve the security in Windows. Something akin to their SELinux project, which can considerably harden the security on Linux. Not everything has to have some sinister intention behind it. The NSA likely has a number of computers that run Windows, and so they have a very clear and simple interest in ensuring that Windows is as secure as possible.

Example #9 I don't get either. First people are complaining that the random number generator in Vista can be predicted, and that's a security risk. So now they do something about it, and people get upset about that.

Example #10 is a repeat of #7 and even #8

Example #11 & 12 are the same basic issue and again, it's just a case of the mainstream press finally catching up to what should have been pretty obvious if you just think about it for a second.

Example #13 is yet another case of my wondering what people expected. Your ISP has all your info for billing purposes, and all of your requests for data go through their systems. I wouldn't be so worried about the data being collected as what's being done with it. Those logs can be invaluable tools for fixing service issues, and they can also be invaluable tools for tracking down criminals. They're also the sort of things that get marketers salivating like crazy, and something they would LOVE to get their hands on. So, it's a matter of how this collected data is used.

Examples #14 & 15 I think I've covered pretty well already. Just replace ISP with "employer" in the text above.

Example #16 strikes me as more of a red herring or some yellow journalism. Exaggerating the facts in an effort to get a few extra clicks.

Example #17 has very little credible evidence to back it up. When you think about the amount of power it would take to do everything Echelon is reportedly able to do... And not to mention that apparently the government has been able to crack perfect voice recognition, which no one else has come even close to doing... It smacks of someone's paranoid fantasy more than reality. There may be SOMETHING to the whole Echelon thing, but I highly doubt it's anywhere near as sophisticated as people report it to be. But let's just assume that it really can intercept every single email, phone call, instant message, etc, sent on the Internet. Let's further assume that there really is some massive computer system that can sift through all of that data, and flag specific messages to be reviewed by some analyst. For the sake of this example, let's say that a mere 1% of that data is flagged for further review. That would still be an absolutely overwhelming amount of data that would far exceed the NSA's abilities to process. What Echelon most likely is, is a repository for the electronic information they intercept while monitoring people suspected of something. So say they suspect Bob over in the UK of having ties to terrorists. They might get taps on his phones, and computer, then have that data funneled into Echelon where it waits for some NSA analyst to review.

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tmi, but...
by JGutierrezOxnard / January 23, 2013 1:56 PM PST
In reply to: Good post John.

reveal one fact or two but not a book. I agree. Even though big bro is traking U and S now, u can St1il track n field da 1 and (((0))) a comPUTA nuws and dodge da B!+Ch. U KaN UTsmut @ ComPuter steal.

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Up to now ...

you've been told in the Vista forum it isn't true. Are you ready to accept that answer?

Kees

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Sorry its hard to accept.
by RetroDan / March 9, 2008 8:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Up to now ...

Sorry I keep getting conflicting answers to the question of Vista spying specifically for US Government.

If the answer really is NO I have no problem with that, but I'm not technically qualified to double-check and I'm sure MS would not be so stupid as to stick something like that somewhere that a spychecker or registry checker would find it.

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(NT) Five Years OId And Time To Lock This Thread
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / January 24, 2013 8:58 AM PST
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