Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The NSA, backdoors in hardware, and "Smart" gun technology

It appears that the NSA has been working behind the scenes with technology companies to put backdoors into chips and other products, creating a "Security Problem From Hell":
In 2011, General Michael Hayden, who had earlier been director of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, described the idea of computer hardware with hidden “backdoors” planted by an enemy as “the problem from hell.” This month, news reports based on leaked documents said that the NSA itself has used that tactic, working with U.S. companies to insert secret backdoors into chips and other hardware to aid its surveillance efforts.

That revelation particularly concerned security experts because Hayden’s assessment is widely held to be true. Compromised hardware is difficult, and often impossible, to detect. Hardware can do things such as access data in ways invisible to the software on a computer, even security software. The possibility that computer hardware in use around the world might be littered with NSA backdoors raises the prospect that other nations’ agencies are doing the same thing, or that groups other than the NSA might find and exploit the NSA’s backdoors. Critics of the NSA say the untraceable nature of hardware flaws, and the potential for building them into many systems, also increases the risk that intelligence agencies that place them will be tempted to exceed legal restrictions on surveillance.

So riddle me this, Gun Control Man: how can any thinking person trust that any "Smart Gun" technology hasn't been backdoored by the Fed.Gov, with a remote RFID kill switch?  Six months ago I would have thought that this was tin foil hat territory; now I look at it and think "plausible".

After all, the BATF ran illegal guns to Mexican drug cartels.  The IRS audited the Obama Administration's enemies.  Journalists are being investigated by the Justice Department under the noxious Sedition Act of 1918, and the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of the NSA have both repeatedly perjured themselves before Congressional Committees charged with overseeing their operations.  The NSA seemingly has subverted the encryption standards used by the entire electronic financial transfer industry.  Communications companies have been told to snoop on their customers and hand over encryption keys, and have been muzzled by classified National Security Letters issued by secret courts.  And now there are charges that hardware may have been trojaned by the US Government.

And we should trust this "Smart Gun" technology is above boards?  Bullet proof (so to speak), with no way around it for the G Men?

Pull the other one.  It has bells on it.


Dirk said...

Mandatory Smart Gun technology with .gov back doors is Mr. Gun Control's wet dream!

Goober said...

“Mandatory” is only mandatory in the sense that it is entirely voluntary.

Something can be “mandatory” and yet be widely ignored by the populace at large, making it nothing more than an impolite suggestion in actual practice. You know, like speed limits.

My big .300 is as “dumb” as they come – no back doors there. It’s going to fire every time the trigger gets pulled, regardless of whether that is desired by some gun-grabber or not.

Killed a moose with it on Saturday morning – it likely never even heard the shot. Have to write that up at the blog yet, but I haven’t had a chance.

Dirk said...

Well, when I said mandatory, I meant, mandatory in all new guns. No way in hell could any requirement to retrofit all existing guns with smart gun technology ever by enforced.

My cheap little 9mm is also "dumb", and will remain so for as long as it exists. And any future acquisitions will also be "dumb".

Dave H said...

If by some boneheaded miracle a law requiring smart guns DOES pass, you can bet the value of your dumb guns is going to triple. So stock up now!

kahr40 said...

I may be into tin foil hat territory but that back door is exactly what concerns me with smart guns. For me to buy a smart gun would require a level of trust in government that IS stupid. Won't happen.

Thanks for the link.