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Should We Sue Computer Makers Like Dell for Secretly Allowing Unauthorized Access to the NSA?

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Jacob Appelbaum

Jacob Appelbaum (Photo credit: boellstiftung)

As with any product sold in the United States (and elsewhere), there is  a warranty given to the buyer that the product is free from defects:

Express Performance Warranty. The first portion of a warranty usually contains the supplier.s [sic] express warranty concerning its product. The standard hardware warranty typically provides that it is “free from defects in material and workmanship.” A standard software warranty provides that the software “performs substantially in accordance” with an identifiable set of functional specifications. – See more at: http://corporate.findlaw.com/litigation-disputes/performance-warranties-in-computer-contracts.html#sthash.KVyag127.dpuf

It is quite clear that knowingly and willingly allowing a major, unexpected security defect in a computer before the buyer purchases it is a significant legal liability for manufacturers and the U.S. government. For the U.S. government, not only are government hired hackers illegally sabotaging and breaking into computers, there is also a presumption of guilt being ascribed to the purchaser before the purchase is even made, as if to say every buyer of a computer is guilty of a crime before any crime is even committed. This presumption is highly unconstitutional and goes against all of the values and principles this country is supposed to subscribe to. Major change is needed in our government’s approach to intelligence gathering.

Sorry for letting them snoop? Dell apologizes for ‘inconvenience’ caused by NSA backdoor

Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum dropped a bombshell of sorts earlier this week when he accused American tech companies of placing government-friendly backdoors in their devices. Now Texas-based Dell Computers is offering an apology.

English: Michael Dell, founder & CEO, Dell Inc.

English: Michael Dell, founder & CEO, Dell Inc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or to put it more accurately, Dell told an irate customer on  Monday that they “regret the inconvenience” caused by  selling to the public for years a number of products that the  intelligence community has been able to fully compromise in  complete silence up until this week.

Dell, Apple, Western Digital and an array of other Silicon  Valley-firms were all name-checked during Appelbaum’s hour-long  presentation Monday at the thirtieth annual Chaos Communication  Congress in Hamburg, Germany. As RT reported  then, the 30-year-old hacker-cum-activist unveiled before the  audience at the annual expo a collection of never-before  published National Security Agency documents detailing how the  NSA goes to great lengths to compromise the computers and systems  of groups on its long list of adversaries.

Spreading viruses and malware to infect targets and eavesdrop on  their communications is just one of the ways the United States’   spy firm conducts surveillance, Appelbaum said. Along with those  exploits, he added, the NSA has been manually inserting  microscopic computer chips into commercially available products  and using custom-made devices like hacked USB cables to silently  collect intelligence.

One of the most alarming methods of attack discussed during his  address, however, comes as a result of all but certain collusion  on the part of major United States tech companies. The NSA has  information about vulnerabilities in products sold by the biggest  names in the US computer industry, Appelbaum said, and at the  drop off a hat the agency has the ability of launching any which  type of attack to exploit the flaws in publically available  products.

Official portrait of NSA director Keith B. Ale...

Official portrait of NSA director Keith B. Alexander. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The NSA has knowledge pertaining to vulnerabilities in computer  servers made by Dell and even Apple’s highly popular iPhone,  among other devices, Appelbaum told his audience.

“Hey Dell, why is that?” Appelbaum asked. “Love to  hear your statement about that.”

Equally as curious were Dave Waterson and Martijn Wismeijer — two  IT experts who took to Twitter to express their outrage before  Appelbaum’s lecture was even presented and preliminary  information about the NSA leaks were published in an article  he co-authored for Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.

“NSA planet [sic] backdoors to access devices from Cisco, Dell,  Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor and Samsung,” Waterson  wrote in a tweet that linked to a CNET article from Sunday that  quoted from Der Spiegel’s top-secret documents.

“Thanks,” Wismeijer wrote on Monday. “I just found  out my Dell server has NSA bug in Rand BIOS,” he said of one  critical component that’s easily exploited, according to  Appelbaum.

Read the rest at http://rt.com/usa/dell-appelbaum-30c3-apology-027/

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Written by voiceoftruthusa

January 1, 2014 at 6:26 pm

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