FBI Can Turn On Your Web Cam Without You Knowing

With all the news the NSA spying on US citizens but accessing their phone calls, emails and internet usage, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the FBI is also spying on us with the use of sophisticated malware.  What that malware can accomplish may change your computer usage.

The Washington Post described how the FBI used their malware to locate a man called Mo who is described as having dark hair, a foreign accent who made a number of threats to explode bombs at colleges and airports throughout the US.  Every time he made a threat, law enforcement scrambled to protect the public.

The FBI had been trying to locate Mo for months, but was unable to.  Mo was able to keep his identity and location a secret by communicating via email, video chats and Internet phone service.  The FBI  were spinning their wheels because they had no house to search or phone to tap and needed to find a way to track Mo down, so they turned to their efforts over to their crack team of computer hackers.

The FBI team created a malicious software program that they could use the next time MO logged into his Yahoo email account.  The malware would secretly infect Mo’s computer, giving the FBI access to his personal information, email history, web site history and allowed them to track all of his future email and internet use.  The malware also allowed the FBI to download photos from Mo’s computer and to turn on any cameras connected to his computer without Mo knowing.

Supposedly, the FBI needs approval before using such malware as it does violate the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures.  In the case of Mo, a federal judge in Denver gave the FBI permission to use their malware spy program in their efforts to locate and track him.  However, in a different case, a Houston judge rejected the FBI’s request to use their malware against a different suspect because he thought the ability to turn on the suspects webcam was ‘extremely intrusive’ and such spying could be a violation of the suspects Fourth Amendment rights.

Laura Donohue, a law professor at Georgetown University commented about the FBI’s malware:

“You can’t just go on a fishing expedition.  There needs to be a nexus between the crime being alleged and the material to be seized. What they are doing here, though, is collecting everything.”

In these few cases that we know of, the FBI has followed legal protocol in seeking court approval to use their webcam spying malware, but how can we know for certain that they haven’t been using their software without court approval.  We’ve already heard countless reports about the NSA illegally spying on our phone calls, emails and internet use without court approval, so what’s to stop the FBI from doing the same?

Our liberal government has demonstrated that they care nothing about the Constitution, law or the rights of American citizens, it would not surprise me to learn that the FBI is using their spy malware against some of the same conservative and patriotic US citizens that the IRS and other Democratic controlled government agencies have targeted.  Call me paranoid or not, this is one of the reasons why I keep a Post-it note over my webcam when I’m not using it.