(Steve Watson) CIA director David Petraeus has said that the rise of new “smart” gadgets means that Americans are effectively bugging their own homes, saving US spy agencies a job when it identifies any “persons of interest”. Speaking at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s technology investment operation, Petraeus made the comments when discussing new technologies which aim to add processors and web connections to previously ‘dumb’ home appliances such as fridges, ovens and lighting systems.
Wired reports the details via its Danger Room Blog:
“‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus enthused, “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 said.
“the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.” the CIA head added.
Petraeus also stated that such devices within the home “change our notions of secrecy”. Petraeus’ comments come in the same week that one of the biggest microchip companies in the world, ARM, unveiled new processors that are designed to give practically every household appliance an internet connection, in order that they can be remote controlled and operate in tandem with applications. ARM describes the concept as an “internet of things”.
Where will all the information from such devices be sent and analyzed? It can be no coincidence that the NSA is currently building a monolithic heavily fortified $2 billion facility deep in the Utah desert and surrounded by mountains. The facility is set to go fully live in September 2013.
“The Utah data center is the centerpiece of the Global Information Grid, a military project that will handle yottabytes of data, an amount so huge that there is no other data unit after it.” reports Gizmodo.
“This center—with every listening post, spy satellite and NSA datacenter connected to it, will make the NSA the most powerful spy agency in the world.”
Wired reports that the incoming data is being mined by plugging into telecommunications companies’ switches, essentially the same method the NSA infamously uses for warrantless wiretapping of domestic communications, as exposed six years ago.
Former intelligence analyst turned best selling author James Bamford, has penned a lengthy piece on the NSA facility and warns “It is, in some measure, the realization of the ‘total information awareness’ program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.”