Electronic Walls, Property and Government

Am I legally allowed to sell you the means to hack into bank accounts? Suppose I marketed a product that advertised

LAN/WLAN Active Password Sniffer
Captures even SSL-encrypted data like Webmail,
Video Portals, Online-Banking and more.

This is from a real company. This is just the tip of the tip of the tip of a spying iceberg that absorbs untold billions of dollars ($50b, $200b, some huge number). The brochures that describe the surveillance products are available from companies that are selling into government, intelligence and law enforcement markets, among others. They advertise their FinIntrusion Kit. They advertise themselves as “intrusion specialists”. This is like a company that is selling burglar tools and proud of it.

If a bank or any other online presence has a password technique and other ways to protect the property it has in your sensitive personal information, this is the equivalent of an electronic wall. Invasions of that wall are a trespass (or should be) and stealing the information is theft. Let us be crystal clear about this. This is theft. This is not a case of intellectual property in which property is not possible. The resources spent to wall off and protect the data make the system and its contents property.

The government that, in the estimation of many citizens, is supposed to be protecting property instead is using your tax dollars to support a huge surveillance industry so that it can, when it wants to, hack into your computer and accounts, or those of a newspaper, or a website, or a business, or some part of government other than itself. The brochure advertises hypothetical uses:

“The FinIntrusion Kit was used to break the WPA encryption of a Target’s home Wireless network and then monitor his Webmail (Gmail, Yahoo, …) and Social Network (Facebook, MySpace, …) credentials, which enabled the investigators to remotely monitor these accounts from Headquarters without the need to be close to the Target.”

Another example:

“The FinIntrusion Kit is widely used to remotely gain access to Target Email Accounts and Target Web-Servers (e.g. Blogs, Discussion Boards) and monitor their activities, including Access-Logs and more.”

Our actual Brave New World and 1984 world has components undreamed of by Huxley and Orwell. The government’s surveillance powers and those of police are enormous. They appear to be vastly overbuilt as against the truly criminal element. They are, as in the movie, an ALIEN hatched within the body of the society and ready to devour it.


7:08 pm on September 6, 2013