×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EFF Offers an Introduction To Traitorware

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the stop-being-so-paranoid-number-39 dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 263

theodp writes "The EFF's Eva Galperin offers a brief primer on Traitorware, devices that act behind your back to betray your privacy. 'Your digital camera may embed metadata into photographs with the camera's serial number or your location,' writes Galperin. 'Your printer may be incorporating a secret code on every page it prints which could be used to identify the printer and potentially the person who used it. If Apple puts a particularly creepy patent it has recently applied for into use, you can look forward to a day when your iPhone may record your voice, take a picture of your location, record your heartbeat, and send that information back to the mothership.' She concludes: 'EFF will be there to fight it [Traitorware]. We believe that your software and devices should not be a tool for gathering your personal data without your explicit consent.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

263 comments

Who rules America? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670640)

THERE IS NO GREATER POWER in the world today than that wielded by the manipulators of public opinion in America. No king or pope of old, no conquering general or high priest ever disposed of a power even remotely approach- ing that of the few dozen men who control America’s mass media of news and entertainment.Their power is not distant and impersonal; it reaches into every home in America, and it works its will during nearly every waking hour. It is the power that shapes and molds the mind of virtually every citizen, young or old, rich or poor, simple or sophisticated.

The mass media form for us our image of the world and then tell us what to think about that image. Essentially ev- erything we know—or think we know—about events out- side our own neighborhood or circle of acquaintances comes to us via our daily newspaper, our weekly news magazine, our radio, or our television.

It is not just the heavy-handed suppression of certain news stories from our newspapers or the blatant propagan- dizing of history-distorting TV “docudramas” that charac- terizes the opinion-manipulating techniques of the media masters. They exercise both subtlety and thoroughness in their management of the news and the entertainment that they present to us.

For example, the way in which the news is covered: which items are emphasized and which are played down; the reporter’s choice of words, tone of voice, and facial ex- pressions; the wording of headlines; the choice of illustra- tions—all of these things subliminally and yet profoundly affect the way in which we interpret what we see or hear.

On top of this, of course, the columnists and editors remove any remaining doubt from our minds as to just what we are to think about it all. Employing carefully developed psychological techniques, they guide our thought and opinion so that we can be in tune with the “in” crowd, the “beautiful people,” the “smart money.” They let us know exactly what our attitudes should be toward various types of people and behavior by placing those people or that behavior in the context of a TV drama or situation comedy and having the other TV characters react in the Politically Correct way.

Read more [natvan.com]

Re:Who rules America? (4, Funny)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670702)

You speak like a conspiracy theorist, therefore you must be a terrorist! The news said so!

(p.s.: I'm being sarcastic, and totally agree with your post.)

Re:Who rules America? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670842)

Did you check out his link? Now how much do you like it?

Re:Who rules America? (1, Flamebait)

wordsnyc (956034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670998)

Now you know why so many people think Ron Paul is cool. They don't click on the links.

Re:Who rules America? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671080)

Now you know why so many people think Ron Paul is cool. They don't click on the links.

Other people like Ron Paul. You don't. Therefore, those other people disagree with you.

Of course, no one could ever disagree with you except that they're stupid/ignorant/crazy/etc. If only they read the links and became enlightened, then they'd see how right you are. Those poor bastards. Unless some miraculous self-clicking link comes along and saves them, they are doomed to forever wallow in the depths of ignorance and like people you don't like.

That is the only rational explanation. The fact that Ron Paul is a member of Congress who actually wants to reduce the size and power of government, nah, that's got nothing to do with it. I bet those primitive screw-heads who support Ron Paul aren't even capable of understanding why that's significant. Right?

Re:Who rules America? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671248)

You speak like a conspiracy theorist, therefore you must be a terrorist! The news said so! (p.s.: I'm being sarcastic, and totally agree with your post.)

It's OK for this type of digital behavior in America, yet, it's also OK to go after Assange for the deeds of persons known and unknown to proliferate the issues of wikileaks. What's good for the goose is also good for the gander, so to speak. To be a patriot is to be a traitor. Go figure.

Re:Who rules America? (0, Offtopic)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670808)

If i had mod points i would mod this up eleventy billion + insightful!!!
thanks!

Re:Who rules America? (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671262)

Of course, the article, written by the research staff at National Vanguard books, continues:

"For example, a racially mixed couple will be respected, liked, and socially sought after by other characters, as will
a “take charge” Black scholar or businessman, or a sensitive and talented homosexual, or a poor but honest and
hardworking illegal alien from Mexico. On the other hand, a White racist—that is, any racially conscious White person
who looks askance at miscegenation or at the rapidly darkening racial situation in America—is portrayed, at best,
as a despicable bigot who is reviled by the other characters, or, at worst, as a dangerous psychopath who is fascinated
by firearms and is a menace to all law-abiding citizens. The White racist “gun nut,” in fact, has become a familiar
stereotype on TV shows.
The average American, of whose daily life TV-watching takes such an unhealthy portion, distinguishes between
these fictional situations and reality only with difficulty, if at all. He responds to the televised actions, statements, and
attitudes of TV actors much as he does to his own peers in real life. For all too many Americans the real world has
been replaced by the false reality of the TV environment, and it is to this false reality that his urge to conform responds.
Thus, when a TV scriptwriter expresses approval of some ideas and actions through the TV characters for
whom he is writing, and disapproval of others, he exerts a powerful pressure on millions of viewers toward conformity
with his own views.
And as it is with TV entertainment, so it is also with the news, whether televised or printed. The insidious thing about
this form of thought control is that even when we realize that entertainment or news is biased, the media masters still
are able to manipulate most of us. This is because they not only slant what they present, but also they establish tacit
boundaries and ground rules for the permissible spectrum of opinion."

Yes, those poor oppressed racists who only want to prevent others from darkening America. It's not that they are espousing a universally reviled concept, it's just a few masters in the media who brainwash everybody else. The racists are the true, strong, independent Americans! Riiiiight....

Re:Who rules America? (3, Funny)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671502)

You didn't include the important part of the link. All the stuff about how its the fault of the Jews.

Who really cares, though? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670662)

Most of us use these devices for completely mundane purposes. If a company is able to aggregate this information and transform it into something that benefits my experiences using the wisdom of crowds, for example, more power to them.

People want to be able to do what they want with devices they purchase. Isn't it inconsistent to deny this freedom to the companies that sell us these devices?

Re:Who really cares, though? (4, Interesting)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670686)

What happens when the government starts analyzing these signs to determine you might be up to no good? Regardless if a crime has taken place or not? If your heart rate is elevated or you're palms are sweating, and you're close to an airport/school/gov office building/whatever, you might be planning an attack, why not just be on the safe side and have you come down with the nice men in black down to the local station for questioning?

Oooooh (3, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670736)

If your heart rate is elevated or you're palms are sweating, and you're close to an airport/school/gov office building/whatever, you might be planning an attack, why not just be on the safe side and have you come down with the nice men in black down to the local station for questioning?

Turn yourself in, before your own personal (not private) polygraph does!

Re:Who really cares, though? (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670778)

If your heart rate is elevated or you're palms are sweating, and you're close to an airport/school/gov office building/whatever...

Good grief! Maybe I'm just in the back of my window-less Econoline rubbing off a quick one! What's the problem?

Re:Who really cares, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670836)

your free market forces means your manufacturer quite happily either sells them the info asked for or cooperate and get feef's paid for admin charges to provide it with a court order.

Re:Who really cares, though? (1)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671102)

-1, Paranoid

Re:Who really cares, though? (2)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671500)

Let me quote the actual article so you don't think I'm being paranoid (even though I am about stuff like this):

In some embodiments of Apple's "invention," this information "can be gathered every time the electronic device is turned on, unlocked, or used." When an "unauthorized use" is detected, Apple can contact a "responsible party." A "responsible party" may be the device's owner, it may also be "proper authorities or the police."

Re:Who really cares, though? (1)

texaport (600120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671124)

according to my new iPhone app that explains formerly complicated concepts ... the word "Privacy" comes from the Gaelic 'pri' (share) and Teutonic 'vac' (info)

Re:Who really cares, though? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670692)

Isn't it inconsistent to deny this freedom to the companies that sell us these devices?

What about a person's right to not be secretly recorded, logged, tracked and monitored purely for corporate greed?

Re:Who really cares, though? (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671138)

Isn't it inconsistent to deny this freedom to the companies that sell us these devices?

What about a person's right to not be secretly recorded, logged, tracked and monitored purely for corporate greed?

I'm pretty sure that AC was just trolling. At least, I'd really like to think so.

Unfortunately there really are a lot of people who, for some reason, will act against their own self-interests and vehemently defend this kind of intrusive surveillance. I believe the term for them is "useful idiots".

Throughout history, every time a relatively free nation became a brutal dictatorship, there were such people who welcomed it with open arms at least until it was finally their face smashed by a jackbooted thug. The GP might be one of those.

Re:Who really cares, though? (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670744)

So what business does Apple have with my SSN that would benefit me?

Re:Who really cares, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671368)

Maybe Jobs wants to pay your taxes for you?

Re:Who really cares, though? (0)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670872)

Isn't it inconsistent to deny this freedom to the companies that sell us these devices?

FUCK corporations! I repeat: fuck corporations! They are NOT persons. They have no right to free speech. When corporations become as big and powerful influence in our lives as the government - even more than the government - they need laws that prevent them from restricting OUR speech, and laws that prevent them from unreasonable search and seizure of US! FUCK corporations!

Re:Who really cares, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671006)

People want to be able to do what they want with devices they purchase. Isn't it inconsistent to deny this freedom to the companies that sell us these devices?

No. Look up "purchase" and "sell" in the dictionary, because you clearly don't understand what these words mean.

People who respect freedom for its own sake care. (5, Insightful)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671052)

You have no idea where the collected data goes and what inferences will be made from it. Since corporations don't care about your freedoms of speech, assembly, and other freedoms, there's no good reason to assume that the collected data won't eventually serve malevolent ends. Furthermore, the data is often collected without explicit announcement that it is being collected. The data is often distributed to others without explicitly getting consent on a case-by-case basis so the end user has an opportunity to decide that they trust one party but not another. It's very easy to let those who promote convenience and flashy presentation take away your freedoms; it's hard to regain your freedom after you've lost it. The solution, therefore, is to not lose your freedoms in the first place.

Re:Who really cares, though? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671298)

So when I sell you a chair I should be allowed to dictate when and how you may sit on it, that you may ONLY use it to sit at a table and ONLY to eat your soup but not your burger? And when I sell you that burger, I should be allowed to dictate that you may ONLY drink MY soda while you eat it (I bet McD would love that!)? Yes, even if you order it to take it with you.

When I sell you something, I also have to relinquish the right to determine its use and purpose. If you take my chair and use it to juggle, I can't do jack about it. If you want to burn it, I can't say you must not do it because I invested so much work into it, you can't just burn it! I sold it to you. I surrendered every right to it to you.

Why the fuck should this be different with things like iPods and XBoxes? Because they're sold at a loss because its maker thinks they'll recover the loss with the add on gizmos? Then sell it for a profit! It's not my fault that your business model is flawed!

Protecting a flawed business model with laws is pretty much what kept communism afloat so long.

Paranoia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670680)

Right, but most of the conspiracy dudes I met were just trying to ease their own lifes over the paranoia they spread.

Traitorware? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670698)

Don't you think that Betrayalware would be a better term? Anyway, I feel safer already.

To protect yourself, put some tape over the camera and microphone and leave the phone at home.

Re:Traitorware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670878)

Leaving the phone home would be 'proof' of wrong doing ... (at checkpoint: Citizen, where is your phone?)

Re:Traitorware? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670940)

Don't you think that Betrayalware would be a better term?

What exactly do you think a traitor is?

I'll help you out with the actual definition:

# someone who betrays his country by committing treason
# double-crosser: a person who says one thing and does another

Re:Traitorware? (1, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671010)

Let's also change "suicide bomber" to "bomb murderer".

Re:Traitorware? (1)

ocdscouter (1922930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671168)

Let's also change "suicide bomber" to "bomb murderer".

That'll just rile up everyone whose superhero identity is Captain Semantics.

Re:Traitorware? (0)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671430)

If you ever want to work on Madison Ave, you'll have to do better than that. I believe the word you want is homicide bomber... As seen on TV [foxnews.com]. It's got a nice catchy ring to it.

A useful feature for many Apple users, actually. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670704)

During Christmas I had to talk with one of my cousins for a while. He's really into using Apple products. He's got an iPhone, an iPad, and several MacBooks.

We got to talking about iPhones, and one thing he told me that he'd find really useful is the ability for his iPhone to tell him the penis dimensions of any other Apple user he meets at Starbucks. He said it'd save him a lot of time and effort. Instead of having to talk to these other men, to find out if they were interested in casual love-making and if their genitals were up to his standards, the iPhone would do most of the work for him. It'd present him a list of suitable candidates, and he could make his move.

He thought that it could be done using ad-hoc wireless networks between iPhones and iPads and all of the other devices. I don't know much about networking or phones or Apple products, but if he says it's possible then it probably is.

Open Office Gave Up "Anonymous" Alex Tapanaris (4, Informative)

theodp (442580) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670718)

Even well-intentioned software can backfire: Greek designer who issued “Anonymous” press release caught by metadata [newswhip.ie]

Re:Open Office Gave Up "Anonymous" Alex Tapanaris (2, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670824)

Yes but this guys FAILED because he didn't even TRY to remove the "meta data". As with MS Work files, Open Office saves who and when for a file. This is "common" knowledge, "my grandmother knows this".

Re:Open Office Gave Up "Anonymous" Alex Tapanaris (4, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670860)

I didn't know that Open Office did this. It's not common knowledge.

Re:Open Office Gave Up "Anonymous" Alex Tapanaris (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670874)

I didn't know that Open Office did this. It's not common knowledge.

Perhaps you live in a CAVE? Virtually *all* "office" type applications save meta data about who/what/when. If you didn't know this, you where not paying much (any) attention. It *IS* common knowledge.

Re:Open Office Gave Up "Anonymous" Alex Tapanaris (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670934)

I see from your "resume" that you never finished college, and live in your mom's basement. Since you use vi (or maybe emacs) to write all your correspondence, it's not surprising you have no concept of modern software. Isn't it time you unlocked your mother's bedroom door and let the police in to recover the mummified body and burry it? You know, there are now better email clients than Pine, and you miss out on a lot of the Interwebs by using Lynx. GET OUT OF YOUR MOM'S BASEMENT! GET THERAPY!

Re:Open Office Gave Up "Anonymous" Alex Tapanaris (1)

djpeebz (935446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670910)

That's why you should always write your anonymous press releases, ransom demands, revoluonary tracts, etc. in LaTeX.

Xerox et al. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670730)

Your printer may be incorporating a secret code on every page it prints which could be used to identify the printer and potentially the person who used it

This is typically done by commercial colour laser printers,such as those made by Xerox, Konika Minolta, Ricoh, and so on. The code's printed in yellow toner - which isn't normally noticeable but becomes infuriatingly visible if you use these machines to print light coloured backgrounds - for example, a business card with a silver/light grey background tone. I don't know about Konika and Ricoh, but with the Xerox machines the code can lead right back to you pretty easily.

That said, the Xerox machines do some other interesting things as well - for example, they'll refuse to copy UK banknotes from the glass (presumably they identify the UV markers in the notes? amongst others. I assume this is either to reduce their liability if their machines were used that way, or due to a legal statute in one of their markets? Either way, interesting behaviour.

Re:Xerox et al. (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670764)

That said, the Xerox machines do some other interesting things as well - for example, they'll refuse to copy UK banknotes from the glass (presumably they identify the UV markers in the notes?

More likely, they look for EURion constellations [wikipedia.org].

Re:Xerox et al. (-1, Redundant)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670792)

The code's printed in yellow toner - which isn't normally noticeable but becomes infuriatingly visible if you use these machines to print light coloured backgrounds - for example, a business card with a silver/light grey background tone.

...isn't getting back to you the whole point of a business card?

Re:Xerox et al. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671438)

I assume this is either to reduce their liability if their machines were used that way, or due to a legal statute in one of their markets?

The way I heard it, they had been threatened with regulations and statutes if they didn't voluntarily do these things.

There's yer problem: (4, Insightful)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670734)

without your explicit consent

Yup, there's the real issue. They can bury a one-sentence fragment within 52 pages of EULA that gives them "explicit consent." Someone will notice, it'll get a story posted on Slashdot, but still, only maybe one or two out of every several thousand will resist purchasing the next iPhone 5GSXT Pro-Air.

The root of the issue is the backtalk and walls of text used to placate users into 'agreeing' without understanding what rights they're sundering.

Re:There's yer problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670754)

That;s why I'm starting a movement to abandon all this technology.

Yours,

Ned Ludd IX.

Re:There's yer problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670786)

What, 52-page contracts? Or just lawyers.

Maybe have a max-limit on contracts? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671272)

Most research show that people can't read more then a 10-point list shown on a single page. That is the size those documents should be for maximum protection of the consumer.

Re:Maybe have a max-limit on contracts? (0)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671514)

Anyone who can read one page can read two (or more) pages. Laziness is not an excuse.

For many contracts one page is not nearly enough to mention everything that needs to be mentioned.

Re:There's yer problem: (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670882)

That, and your choices are to consent to give up the data, or not use the device at all. You can't just turn off the tracking.

Re:There's yer problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670894)

But then thats not "explicit consent" is it? Even if it gets posted on Slashdot, digg, hell it could even be reported on CNN, the New York Times, Fox News, Al Jazeera, and agreeing to the EULA still wouldn't be "explicit consent".

Re:There's yer problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670908)

Yup. Simple* consumer protection legislation could stop all future devices in their wake.

Will it happen? Not a chance in hell. Well, not until a complete open hardware/software environment at the consumer grade level exists.

Like most things these days, it's either legislated protection, or engineered protection.

Re:There's yer problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671330)

They worded it pretty badly, but I think the EFF's general idea is that it should not be considered acceptable for a device to either colelct data or (crucially) make it available to someone else without the device owner being aware of and understanding what the device is doing.

Further, I reckon they find it abhorrent that we could live in a society where people know and understand these points and still consent to them.

The real issue is (4, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670794)

not that our devices embed information; but how that information is used. For example, having a geo location and serial number on every picture can aid in searching for images as well automating workflow (based on specific sensor characteristics). For me, that is good. Sending that info to the "mothership"" (sic), without my knowledge or permission, is bad because they have no reason to need that data; other than to sell it or use it for marketing.

I'd like to see companies that collect date require a more informed consent than burying it in a 50 page TOS agreement; and perhaps notification the first time teh data is sent.

Re:The real issue is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670848)

You are missing one important point... If there is no information being gathers then there is no data to abuse!

Re:The real issue is (2, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670918)

Sending that info to the "mothership"" (sic), without my knowledge or permission, is bad because they have no reason to need that data; other than to sell it or use it for marketing.

What are you talking about? When you installed the software you clearly indicated that you had read and understood the terms and conditions, which clearly stated that your camera software would be sending information stored in each image the camera records back to the camera company.

That little check box is legally binding. Some specific parts of some ridiculous EULAs are not legally binding, but on the whole they are legitimate. You gave them permission to do this, I don't see why you are upset about it.

If you actually care about your privacy, you should actually read the Terms and Conditions, in which they actually tell you what they are actually going to do with your private data. If there is something in there you don't agree with, don't check the box, and don't install the software. Either find some other way to use the device, or simply return the device.

It annoys me to no end when people complain about the evil things companies are doing with their private information, yet are too lazy to read what a company is specifically telling you what they want to do with your private data, and is asking for your permission to do so.

I personally don't like what companies do with my private information, but I don't care about it enough to not use the software. This is clearly also true of 99% (or more) of the people here. If you really care about this shit, when a company asks for your permission, simply tell them "no thank you".

I can't see how you can call it traitorware when they told you up front exactly what they were going to do with your data. Traitors don't tell you before hand that they are going to betray you. It's frankly not the software company's fault* that you don't seem to care what they plan to do with your data.

*Note that the Sony rootkit was illegal. That shit should never fly. Most anything short of that is fair game, though, if you are stupid enough to agree to it.

Re:The real issue is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671014)

It annoys me to no end when people complain about the evil things companies are doing with their private information, yet are too lazy to read what a company is specifically telling you what they want to do with your private data, and is asking for your permission to do so.

Have you read and understood every part of every EULA you've ever agreed to? You almost have to be a lawyer to understand them usually.

Also, saying "we gather some information for marketing that we share with our partners" does NOT tell you specifically or otherwise what information they are collecting or when, how often and why and it tells you nothing about how they intend to use the information or for how long.

Re:The real issue is (4, Insightful)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671370)

That would be true in an idealised fantasy world where everyone had infinite time, were lawyers, and were aware of the potential problems with EULAs. Back here on Earth...

EULAs aren't upfront. Nobody reads them and nobody expects them to be read. People couldn't understand them if they tried. They're created with that fact in mind:

EULAs aren't specific. They are to a lawyer, but for the people reading them the text is incomprehensible obfuscated gibberish. Clearly they don't give a shit about agreement since it's physically impossible for most people to agree:

Consent requires comprehension. Perhaps you've heard of statuatory rape, a law that employs this principle. Contracts are also supposed to require mutual understanding because the entire concept is logically incoherant otherwise.

But of course that wouldn't be convenient in consumer electronics. So it's ignored, leaving us with a nonsensical system that bears no relevance to reality whatsoever. We pretend to agree and they pretend we agreed. And everyone knows it's bullshit.

Except for the law of course. "Legally binding" loses meaning as a defence when the law itself loses relevance. A law which completely fails to take into account how society operates is a law that should not exist.

Therefore, EULAs are hokum, people are dumbasses, companies are shitheads and the law is morally wrong. Merry Christmas!

 

Re:The real issue is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671480)

> EULAs aren't specific. They are to a lawyer, but for the people reading them the text is incomprehensible obfuscated gibberish.

That's funny - I'm not a lawyer, and I seem to have no trouble understanding them. But then again, I actually read them, not just click through like a mindless chimp.

They usually aren't actually hard to understand. Once in a while they are, and I just elect not to do business with companies using those. If more people cared enough to join me, then before long the obfuscated EULAs would disappear (because nobody in their right mind would agree to something they can't understand), and the fairly clear ones would remain.

But since very few people care about their privacy or what they're agreeing to, that will never happen.

Re:The real issue is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671498)

> EULAs aren't specific. They are to a lawyer, but for the people reading them the text is incomprehensible obfuscated gibberish.

That's funny - I'm not a lawyer, and I seem to have no trouble understanding them. But then again, I actually read them, not just click through like a mindless chimp.

They usually aren't actually hard to understand. Once in a while they are, and I just elect not to do business with companies using those. If more people cared enough to join me, then before long the obfuscated EULAs would disappear (because nobody in their right mind would agree to something they can't understand), and the fairly clear ones would remain.

But since very few people care about their privacy or what they're agreeing to, that will never happen.

The real issue is you are a jackass with an u. Thank you, happy to clear that up.

better start acting straight (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670798)

so you can even use that tech. to your advantage and defense

A list of such products (4, Interesting)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670806)

Is there a list of this kind of products? When I buy a camera or a printer I'd like to know which ones hide serial numbers or the like in the images they produce. EFF should maintain such a list, I think.

Re:A list of such products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670980)

Essentially all of them.
You want the shorter list of which ones DO NOT hide serial numbers.
You can assume that purchasing anything from those lists immediately puts you on a DHS watch list.

Re:A list of such products (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670994)

For cameras, it's virtually every single modern one that supports EXIF [wikipedia.org]. Printers, I don't know much about. I imagine that Google does, however.

I like the fact that the EXIF data has the camera serial number. Over the years, I've used a number of different cameras. Even multiple versions of the same model. It's nice to have that information in the database. Giving it to anyone else is another issue entirely. But here again, the onus is on the individual to know how to deal with one's complex modern objects. For EXIF data, it's easy to strip entirely or individually.

What EFF needs to do is to bring this issue up to a level where 'normal' people at least understand the problems. It would be nice if manufacturers would give us the tools to control the flow of data better, but until the drum starts to beat louder, they have little incentive to do so.

Re:A list of such products (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671508)

Note that you can easily remove the exif data using jpegtran.

(1) sudo apt-get install jpegtran
(2) jpegtran -copy none whatever.jpg

QED. It's trivial to do it in batch mode across a million pictures if you want.

Re:A list of such products (4, Insightful)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671000)

Digital Cameras put this stuff in the exif data structures.

Add a GPS device to your DSLR and it goes in too.

Many Serious (both Pro & Amatuer) Snappers find this information really useful. Match the GPS up with Google Maps and locating where you took a particular shot is simple.
You can easily get rid of the data in the images you publish.
In fact this is useful to help you prove your copyright of the image.

So not all 'Traitorware' is bad to all people. There is a thriving marked for GPS Addons' to high end DSLR's.

Things like the Laser Printer data is IMHO worse that useless. Just but yourself a $50 inkjet, print the offending pages and junk it. After all, the replacment inks will often cost more than a new printer....

Re:A list of such products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671016)

Hehe, did you forget the sarcasm tag?

Re:A list of such products (2)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671048)

They have an incomplete list of printers. It is obviously hard to collect this information as I'm sure most companies aren't too eager to help. I would also imagine an updated firmware could add this 'feature' to a previously non-tracking printer.
It surprises me that the US secret service didnt ask MS to add this as standard to the windows printer code on higher quality prints (or even if certain watermarks/EURion codes are found..

but with ATT low download cap will apple force tha (3, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670856)

but with ATT low download cap / high data costs $10 a GIG will apple force that?

what about over seas up to $100 or more in data fees per location?

Re:but with ATT low download cap will apple force (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671040)

You are indeed being ripped off in the USA got your data charges.
I pay £15.00 (approx $23) per month for 15Gbytes here in the UK.

IMHO, everyone is being ripped off on International Roaming.

Hanlon's (4, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670862)

Dont attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity. Sometimes a software can be well intentioned, see a place where a lot of maybe useful information could be place and no look further on that, putting that in. Sometimes in some context that added information could be useful and intended, sometimes not, and you have not enough flexibility to decide by yourself when enable or disable that action.

Could the smtp protocol (and so every software that implements it) be considered traitorware? If you want to send an anonymous message it adds from which IP was sent, how different would be that from cameras that automatically adds gps coordinates in photos?

In the last term, a line between malice in this and what is not should be drawn, and will be very broad with a lot of things in the gray area, but would be good to have a list of what cleary is in the wrong side of it. And if well couldnt call traitorware all that is in the field of what sends somehow away information that could hurt your privacy, awareness of what they send and what exactly implies in that topic to use them, sometimes even in the manuals they warn which private information could be disclosed, well, that it be even the ones that don't disclose that.

Yet life is better (1)

nOw2 (1531357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670906)

I don't care. Life is better with data. I would actually pay for a phone that records my heartbeat and location and communicates it to a trusted 3rd party. You know what, it might save my life.

Re:Yet life is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671164)

Ahh, but there's the rub. These things aren't allowing you to choose a "trusted 3rd party". They choose where your private data gets communicated to. I doubt an advertising firm or the NSA is going to rush right over to save your life, or even send help, since that won't be what they're monitoring the data for. Still don't think there's a problem?

What's the problem? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670920)

If you are doing nothing wrong and do not plan on doing anything wrong then there should be nothing to fear.

Do we need more words? (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670922)

"EFF will be there to fight it [Traitorware]. We believe that your software and devices should not be a tool for gathering your personal data without your explicit consent.'"

This sounds a lot like spyware. Why do we need a new word?

Oh Noes! (1, Flamebait)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670932)

Apple's iPhones know where you are when you use the maps and Apple can gather that data and use it to launch missiles at you! Adobe Photoshop can use the GPS data encoded into your photos and send that info to the CIA who will visit those places and scrawl lewd graffiti about your sexuality in all the nearby bathrooms, thus ruining your reputation in the locality and preventing you from being elected to political office!

This would be a lot more of a story if they actually cited some real misuse of data instead of just making claims about the evils that could hypothetically be committed using data that is otherwise kinda useful for the end user. I mean, seriously, it can collect biometric data for identification and store it if it fails as a way to identify who tried to use a device? How is that not something I want my devices to do to identify thieves and people trying to break the security of my systems? No, I don't want some company collecting biometric info on me and using it to track me for advertising or policing purposes, but unless there's actual evidence of such abuse, well it's not much of a story.

Re:Oh Noes! (4, Insightful)

zn0k (1082797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671054)

The whole point of the EFF is to think about such problems and issues before they become common; hence the 'frontier' in their title. They are trying to alert people to a potential situation so that people can be aware of it and start thinking about the implications, and formulate either consumer strategies or legal frameworks before there is wide spread abuse.

Your point is still valid in that you yourself may not be interested until there has been abuse, but to ask the EFF not to write about it until that point does not make much sense.

Re:Oh Noes! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671064)

Your retort sounds eerily similar to the 'if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide' chanters. Or, 'you conspiracy theorists are such nutters'.

The EFF have identified an issue and provided scenarios of why this may be unwanted. Does the scenario really have to transpire before you see the danger? Does someone have to fall off a cliff before you see the potential danger of the cliff?

Even if you are so lacking in vision that you cannot see the danger from the described scenario, surely you can draw references from past events. How many times has it already transpired that something such as this was put in place only to have it misused by someone in a position of authority or for marketing purposes? What is the benefit to the consumer of putting the serial number in every picture? Furthermore, if there is a benefit to the consumer, why is that fact hidden rather than advertised as a feature? What's the consumer benefit to printing serial numbers or other identifiers(yellow dots) on every printed page that comes out of a printer? And, if there is a benefit to the consumer, why is that fact hidden rather than advertised as a feature?

The fact is that these "features" are regularly added to these devices without the knowledge or consent of the consumer. It is also typically the case that these "features" are leveraged against the consumer or to the benefit of government agencies or corporations without the consumer's knowledge. The fact that you lack vision doesn't mean that the problem or, at the very least, the potential of the problem doesn't exist.

Look on the bright side. (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671412)

At least the missiles they'll fire at you won't be made using itunes. Since its against the license agreement.

If you want to do something nefarious ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34670938)

It is very hard to commit a crime without leaving some kind of trace. If you use a phone or email or a credit card or you buy bomb making materials somewhere with security video, you will be caught eventually.

An example of the extremes you have to go to, to get away with serious crime over the long term would be the Unabomber. The FBI worked on his case over many years:

"This team made every possible forensic examination of recovered components of the explosives and studied the lives of victims in minute detail. These efforts proved of little use in identifying the suspect, who built his bombs essentially from "scrap" materials available almost anywhere."
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Kaczynski [wikipedia.org]

Eventually the thing that tripped him up was that his family recognized him because of the way his manifesto was written.

The lesson is that unless you hide in the back woods and refrain from buying anything at all, you will eventually leave traces. Also, don't write a manifesto ;-)

I like "traitorware" (2)

Tolvor (579446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34670944)

I read the article, and see nothing in the so-called "traitorware" that is objectionable.

I *like* cameras that incorporates metadata. This protects me from lawsuits and proves that the picture is mine and can be used however I want and as often I want. Because I can prove that the photo is mine through the metadata I have an easy way to defend myself in copyright and infringement lawsuits. For me the metadata is a selling feature and a benefit.

Printers that include tags on the paper that can be traced back to the person doing the printing I can also understand. People misuse printers to print out pedophilia (you are scum, and hope you are caught), counterfeiting (I like being able to use money, and hope you are caught), and threatening letters (my sister got several, and I hope you are caught). I just can't get that excited about anyone being able to trace what I print back to me. I can't think of a situation where I would care.

I don't own an IPhone (Droid), but I *like* the idea that it can send my location and heartbeat back to Apple. I'd have liked this on my laptop that had gotten stolen. I'd just call the police, and send Apple the police report. It would make tracking the device actually feasible, and maybe get some of these thieves to be arrested. Cars to some degree have this (called OnStar) and it's a big selling point. I refuse to get concerned about Apple wanting to listen to my heartbeat. Now if they would be so kind to implant the phone, monitor continuously, and notify medical help (and tell them where I am) if the heartbeat becomes arrhythmic and/or stops I would really appreciate that (heart problems is the leading cause of death).

How is this so-called "traitorware" an issue?

Re:I like "traitorware" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671044)

I don't own an IPhone (Droid), but I *like* the idea that it can send my location and heartbeat back to Apple. I'd have liked this on my laptop that had gotten stolen. I'd just call the police, and send Apple the police report. It would make tracking the device actually feasible, and maybe get some of these thieves to be arrested.

Dream on. The police don't care about little things like theft. They have bigger priorities, like arresting pot smokers.

Re:I like "traitorware" (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671324)

From reading the comments, you and I are the only ones to RTFA. I believe EFF has leaped off the deep end.

Re:I like "traitorware" (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671456)

How is this so-called "traitorware" an issue?

Remember in university when you learned that argument from lack of imagination was a fallacy?

Remember in highschool when you learned that there was more than one side to an issue, and that issues generally aren't black and white even when you fully agree?

Remember in primary school when you learned other people had different preferences and sensibilities, that they didn't like everything you liked?

Combine them and *bam!*, understanding!

If you want the product, you'll give your consent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671004)

That's the problem.

You won't be given the choice. You either buy it and accept their right to take your data, or you don't get to buy the product.

Market forces won't solve the problem because business knows the value of the data to them. The company which allows you the clear option not to have your data taken from you will be at a competitive disadvantage and will not last long.

This has to be sorted out in legislation which requires companies to offer the option.

Most politicians couldn't care less about your privacy so it won't happen unless you threaten them with loss of office. Let them know what you think.

I'm just waiting for the day of convergence... (5, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671022)

Bad thing #1: Locking down devices. Right now, people like the Dev Team jailbreak stuff within a month or two of release. However, eventually hardware chips will get added that are as hard if not harder than baseband modules to crack. Perhaps chips that "supervise" the OS, and if it runs something out of some strict parameters, the device gets shut down until taken to a $AUTHORIZED_STORE and fixed there.

Neutral thing #2: Phones do a lot. They acquire a lot of knowledge about the carrier.

Bad thing #3: Info by #2 is sent back home to carriers.

Bad thing #4: A combined push by LEOs and our *IAAs to find more info about people to start criminal or civil proceedings with ease. Remember, it wasn't that long ago that suing users in the thousands for having a song available, or snarfing a video clip was not thought of.

Bad thing #5: Ad providers being such a strong force. They don't just show disinterest in stopping malware payloads from being delivered through their networks, they want to add new vectors for infection using Phorm-like injectors. They will happily sell any information they get to all and sundry who have the cash.

Bad thing #6: The "piracy" bugaboo. This is a major excuse used for device lockdown.

Bad thing #7: No interest in anti-monopoly regulation.

Bad thing #8: Blacklists are in common use in the industry. For example, if someone gets banned from one casino in Las Vegas, they get banned from all of them.

Now, the day of convergence happens. All this stuff winds up merging. Joe User now buys a smartphone after all these converge:

Day 1: Joe goes out on a date with a co-worker to discuss business. His device notices that it is near other devices, transmits the GPS info to an ad agency. Joe's wife has a search tool that uses info gleaned from ad agencies to monitor where Joe is 24/7 even though his stuff isn't connected. She gives him a tongue lashing when he gets home.

Day 2: Joe visits a MMA place to see about casual sparring. The phone transmits the location, and insurance companies pick it up. They kick Joe off the health insurance because he is engaging in too risky pursuits.

Day 3: Joe posts a private rant on his favorite social network of choice about his job from his home computer. The social network has a top notch privacy policy and has no advertisers at all. However, Joe's phone has an app that quietly slurps up his posts, even though they are posted by another device and sends them to an ad agency. His work subscribes to an employee monitoring system which sends relevant posts if they have the company mentioned. His boss gets handed the rant, and Joe gets fired.

Day 4: Joe decides to go buy a dime bag because he has no job, an estranged wife, and no health insurance. He drives to a part of town that isn't too bad, but where the "upper" level distributers hang out. On the way back, Joe gets pulled over, his car searched and seized, and he ends up in jail. The local PD uses the ad agencies which keep track of all GPS settings of cars in the area, and has pattern matching. Any traffic pattern that is suspect gets an automatic traffic stop and the dog brought out.

Day 5: Joe's wife decides to file a divorce because she wants to move to someone who is making money. She gets someone to check the phone ad agencies and give her the goods on Joe. She serves him divorce papers via E-mail, and because the ad providers know when someone received the message, the E-mail stands up in court as a proper service, just as a visit from the constable.

Day 6: Joe is afraid of monitoring, so tries to flash a ROM without the 24/7/365 monitoring. The device auto-bricks, and he has to take it into an authorized store, pay $300 for them to flash a replacement ROM onto it. Essentially do a fancy version of RSD-Lite. Joe then uses a better utility that prevents the phone from bricking. However because it downloads a utility like su or Cydia, the cellular provider notices the communication between the device and the site, then disables service to the device. The cellular provider also pushes a kill signal to render the device inoperable. Joe now has to pay an ETF even though the cellular company will not provide him a new SIM card or give him service. Because all cellular providers trade blacklists, he can't get a new cellphone from another provider. Joe tries to get a prepaid model, but because all phones send voiceprints of the user to the cellular company (and their ad agencies), Joe gets automatically disconnected again.

Day 7: Joe buys a cellphone, yanks the SIM card, and uses Skype at Wi-Fi hotspots. He calls a friend of his to bellyache. His friend's phone (bought after "C-day") also keeps track of voiceprints (intercepting output sound checking signatures before it hits the DAC to check for "suspect" music and brick the device if it finds it), and phones home with those. Joe's phone is located, and a kill signal is sent to it by the cellphone maker, (which is perfectly legal, as it is part of a clause he implicitly agreed to by opening packaging and which has solid court precedent behind it that if the phone is deemed to be used in an unauthorized manner, its ability to use radio signals can be removed.)

Day 8: Joe decides to fire up his computer and stream from Pandora. He finds that his ISP access has been pulled because he is on a "no-Internet watchlist", due to the jailbreaking/rooting of a device a couple days earlier.

Heart rate, eh? (1)

spazekaat (991287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671070)

Let's see.....tweaking my cardio-enabled phone to....wait for it.....

WAIT FOR IT.....

"BWWWEEEEEEEEE......BWWWWEEEEEEE....BWWWWWEEEEEEEEE...."

Got it! Spock's heart rate while lying on McCoy's magical medical bed in the original Star Trek.

Take THAT you (red) blood-sucking corporate parasites!!!

Apple's non-removable batteries... (2)

ethanms (319039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671104)

Good for aesthetics... ...apparently also good for preventing you from quickly disabling the phone once stolen...

It might take an unpracticed hand well over 5 mins of prying to get into the case before the battery can be pulled (assuming you did not want to destroy the device in the process)... you can upload a lot of data on a high speed network in that time... Apple will spin this as a feature which enables preservation of your important data prior to a remote wipe, of course it also has other uses...

Re:Apple's non-removable batteries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671288)

I won't even consider buying a portable device unless the battery can be swapped as easily as a liver.

The Shopper's Guide (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671106)

'Your printer may be incorporating a secret code on every page it prints which could be used to identify the printer and potentially the person who used it.'

Which is precisely the audit trail your boss is looking for.

The same guy who buys the high end color printer that can produce a plausible counterfeit bill.

Laser printers (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671284)

I wanted a personal colour laser printer for myself, nothing flash, but better than 600x600, but I decided against as I had read in a few places that the colour lasers imprint shomehow on the page to identify the printer. I think we're fairly safe with monochrome personal laser printers - so far. Don't suggest inkjets, they are horrendously bad value for money.

Oh Well. (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34671312)

Last month was my last check to the EFF. It appears they are firmly entrenched in the world of paranoid conspiracy theory now.

LTR Patent FTW..

Re:Oh Well. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34671522)

They realized that the paranoid are also gullible, so easy money.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...