Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Move over, Big Brother. Little Brother is squeezing in.

Filed under
Security

Robert Gortarez is no private eye.

But with an $80 piece of software intended to track what his son was doing on the Internet, the 36-year-old Phoenix real estate investor uncovered some information about what his wife - now his ex-wife - was doing online as well.

Gortarez isn't the only one. Husbands and wives, moms and dads, even neighbors and friends increasingly are succumbing to the temptation to snoop, thanks to a growing array of inexpensive, easily accessible high-tech sleuthing tools once available only to professional investigators.

Move over, Big Brother. Little Brother is squeezing in.

From software that secretly monitors computer activity to tiny hidden surveillance cameras and global positioning system devices, spy tools that can track a person's location now can be purchased in retail stores and on the Internet.

And a growing amount of free personal information is so easy to find online that many Internet regulars don't think of it as spying. Plug a name into Google and you have an instant background check of your best friend, your brother-in-law or that guy or gal you met last night at a bar.

"You can bug people the way spy agencies used to do 20 years ago - really cheap now," says Howard Rheingold, author of "Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution." "The Orwellian vision was about state-sponsored surveillance. Now it's not just the state, it's your nosy neighbor, your ex-spouse and people who want to spam you."

It's unclear how many Americans actually are using these new tools to check up on one another, especially since most people don't exactly broadcast it. But experts say citizen sleuthing is on the rise.

"My guess is it's very popular, just given how many people call me," says Deborah Pierce of Privacy Activism, a nonprofit advocacy organization based in San Francisco. Pierce is speaking this week at the 15th annual Computers, Freedom & Privacy Conference in Seattle.

Pierce says the fact that legal cases are starting to hit the courts "tells me it's prevalent."

Full Story

More in Tux Machines

Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.7.2, Qt 5.7 and KDE Applications 16.04.3

Chakra GNU/Linux developer Neofytos Kolokotronis today, July 25, 2016, announced the release of the latest KDE and Qt technologies, along with new software versions in the main repositories of the Linux kernel-based operating system. Read more

In a Quiet Market for PCs, Chromebooks are Marching Steadily Forward

It's no secret that Chrome OS has not been the same striking success for Google that the Android OS has been. And yet, Chromebooks--portable computers running the platform--have not only found their niche, but they are also introducing a new generation to cloud computing. Chromebooks are firmly entrenched in the education market, where many young users have become used to the convention of storing apps and data in the cloud. Now, according to new research from Gartner, Chromebooks are ready to hit new milestones. Analysts there report that Chromebook shipment growth will be in the double digits this year. At the same time, though, Chromebooks have not become fixtures in the enterprise, replacing Windows PCs. Read more

Server Administration

  • SysAdmins With Open Source Skills Are In Demand
    System administrators play a crucial role in businesses today. They are the individuals responsible for the configuration, support and maintenance of company computer systems and servers. For this reason, they are a popular hiring request, with defense and media companies alike looking for these professionals on Dice. Yet, despite the ongoing demand, finding and recruiting system administrators may be more of a challenge. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that the quarterly unemployment rate for system administrators was 0.6%, well below the national quarterly average (4.9%) and the quarterly average for all tech professionals (2.1%). Employers thus need to focus more of their recruitment strategies on poaching this talent from competitors.
  • One Phrase Sysadmins Hate to Hear (And How to Avoid It)
    A few years later, sysarmy, the local IT community, was born as the "Support for those who give support." And in that spirit, for this 8th AdminFest edition, we want to do exactly that: support those who help others in our Q&A platform, sysarmy.com/help. Each 500 points a participant earns, he/she gets a free drink in return!
  • DevOps'n the Operating System
    John Willis takes a brief look at the history of how Devops principles and operating systems have converged. He spends most of the time forward looking at what and how unikernels will converge with Devops tools, processes and culture. He ends with a demo of how containers, unikernels and Devops ideas can work together in the future.
  • 5 reasons system administrators should use revision control
    Whether you're still using Subversion (SVN), or have moved to a distributed system like Git, revision control has found its place in modern operations infrastructures. If you listen to talks at conferences and see what new companies are doing, it can be easy to assume that everyone is now using revision control, and using it effectively. Unfortunately that's not the case. I routinely interact with organizations who either don't track changes in their infrastructure at all, or are not doing so in an effective manner. If you're looking for a way to convince your boss to spend the time to set it up, or are simply looking for some tips to improve how use it, the following are five tips for using revision control in operations.

Kernel Space/Linux