Big Brother is watching

Tidy your house. Stash the beer cans. Guess who is stopping by without notice? Your big brother. If you say you donít have one, I have news for you.

There was news this week about a computer virus called Flame. It has burrowed its way into computers in the Middle East. Especially computers in Iran. And this affects you. Your computer. Your life. Directly. Even if you have zero interest in foreign affairs and intrigue.

Experts are still studying Flame. To figure out what it does. This much they already know: It can change settings on computers it invades. It can turn on the microphone of a PC. It can record conversations without the speakers knowing.

Better put your bra back on. It can also take screen shots without you knowing. It can log instant messaging chats. I wonder who is investigating whom here. My guess is that Flame is learning more about the experts than they are learning about Flame.



Welcome to the cyber world. And the world of cyber warfare. And cyber eavesdropping. If you think you will ever have absolute privacy again, you are kidding yourself.

Here is the jarring news. The experts reckon Flame is five to eight years old. Those experts have only just discovered it. Can you imagine how many other surveillance weapons are out there now? Can you imagine what the newest ones can do? The experts probably donít have a clue. And you donít have a chance.

Wait. There is always a bright side. You probably wonít have to worry about Iran launching a nuclear missile. These cyber weapons have obviously come from Israel. Or the U.S. Or both countries working together. (While no doubt spying on each other.)

Imagine the Israelis deploying them. Those Iranian generals who want to make nuclear arrangements? They wonít even be able to make appointments with their beard trimmers. I can imagine Israelis re-directing their rockets. To blitz Tehran.

Now to the darker side. Your privacy will be shredded. If it hasnít been already.

You see, most stuff that gets developed for the military and spies will make it onto the public market. Eventually. Think mini-cameras and microphones. (The alarm clock where you sleep tonight may have them. So might your dateís eyeglasses.) Think night-vision cameras. And Google Earth. And mini-drones, now available. And that nifty tracking device. The one your spouse slipped under the hood of your car. You can buy this stuff at farmersí markets.

And think of all the surveillance cameras that already exist. At banks and alleyways. And at a million check-out counters. And those are only the cameras you can see.

My point is simple: Perhaps Flame-type technology has not already destroyed your privacy. But it will. Coming soon! To a bedroom like yours!

Well, you always said you would like to be a star. You just didnít know you would have your own reality show.

Your mom always told you to check your teeth for spinach and wear clean underwear. If she only knew why you would need to heed her advice.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tomís radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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