In a post 9/11 world, very little is shocking in the way of government surveillance of its citizens. It is now almost a given that we live within in a web of electronic eavesdropping, which is becoming increasingly inescapable and pervasive. But a recent report that comes from Germany is truly shocking, and should give every computer user pause. A German hacker organization has discovered a government "Trojan Horse" program that utilizes some of the standard spook computer-searching methods: scanning hard drives, delivery of the snoop-ware surreptitiously through e-mail, etc.
However, one element of this spying software is truly stunning: it not only enables your computer to be remotely controlled by another user, it actually enables said user to listen and see you through the computer's microphone or camera. Worse, the hacking organization found the software to be basically shoddy, enabling hackers like themselves the ability to easily use the program for nefarious ends.
""Clearly the limits set by the Federal Constitutional Court have been massively violated," said Claudia Roth, the co-leader of the Green Party. Sebastian Nerz, the leader of Germany's Pirate Party, which campaigns for Internet freedom and civil rights, said that the authorities were "clearly acting outside the limits set by the constitution."
You think?
Americans should not feel that their government is innocent of this or other similar methods - it has been revealed that the spying software sent data through a server located right here in the USA. Clearly, this has elevated government snooping to whole new level. Now you cannot be certain whether or not some trusty terrorism-fighting government employee - or some pimply teenage hacking wizard - is watching or listening to you after you log on. Orwellian? The very definition. Full sordid story here.
 
 
Thieves that can only be described as both bold and enterprising have made away with an entire bridge in North Beaver Township, Pennsylvania. The recession has caused scrap metal to become a valuable commodity, which in turn has led to a rash of metal thefts all across the nation. Places such as abandoned houses, schools and even churches have been frequent targets. Thieves have taken stretches of railway, but have not been able to take an entire bridge - until now. More on the carry-away caper here.
 
 
        I am used to seeing street businesses expand to online stores, but Google has done the opposite, and quite under the radar. Minus bells and whistles, Google has opened its first store in London. You can see more here.
 
 
After a long and arduous journey through a foreign legal system, Amanda Knox is free and headed home. I cannot imagine what her family and friends are going through right now. Congratulations on your victory Ms. Knox. Welcome home.