Running Android? Your Phone And The FBI Are Watching You

Stories like this make me so proud to be an American!

According to Jennifer Valentino-Devries and Danny Yadron of the Wall Street Journal the FBI is capable of, and in fact is actively engaged in turning on the microphone of phones running Google’s Android.

The FBI develops some hacking tools internally and purchases others from the private sector. With such technology, the bureau can remotely activate the microphones in phones running Google Inc.’s Android software to record conversations, one former U.S. official said. It can do the same to microphones in laptops without the user knowing, the person said. Google declined to comment.

They can do this with computer cameras as well:

Earlier this year, a federal warrant application in a Texas identity-theft case sought to use software to extract files and covertly take photos using a computer’s camera, according to court documents. The judge denied the application, saying, among other things, that he wanted more information on how data collected from the computer would be minimized to remove information on innocent people.

Currently, it seems law enforcement still needs to obtain a warrant for this type of surveillance but in light of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program and our governments willingness to allow this, it’s likely only a matter of time until they aren’t necessary.

Thanks Google (don’t be evil)! Glad I use only Apple products.

Who Voted To Keep Spying On U.S. Citizens?

As a resident of Minnesota I wasn’t surprised at all that the ignoramus and mentally deficient Michele Bachmann voted to continue trampling on the 4th amendment and keep the NSA spying on U.S. citizens. It’s completely keeping in character for this whack job. I also wasn’t surprised that all Minnesota Republican representatives did the same. I was, however, surprised and disappointed that democratic representative Collin Peterson voted with the conservatives.

Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan, Tim Walz and Keith Ellison all voted for defunding the NSA’s domestic spying program. John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Collin Peterson and Michele Bachmann all voted against it.

It appears that as long as Peterson’s famers are well subsidized he’s ok with the government spying on law abbiding citizens. George Orwell would be proud.

What’s next? Web firms forced to give the Feds our account passwords. No doubt Peterson and his Minnesota Republican cohorts will jump right on board that train.

To see how your representative voted check out the roll call over at techdirt.

7 Old Wives’ Tales About Cooking Steak

I don’t know if I ever posted this and since I’m not sure and I’m too lazy to go back and check, here it is (possibly again):

Serious Eats: 7 Old Wives’ Tales About Cooking Steak That Need To Go Away

Don’t bother letting your steaks rest at room temperature. Rather, dry them very thoroughly on paper towels before searing. Or better yet, salt them and let them rest uncovered on a rack in the fridge for a night or two, so that their surface moisture can evaporate. You’ll get much more efficient browning that way.

I need to do this.