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This is obviously not good, but I'm not sure it is particularly useful for something "important".

Any target of high value will be pursued and observed by trained humans with advanced tools. The amount of data collected, I suspect, would be less but more accurate.

A device like this just lowers the bar (really low) on tracking. However, it increases the noise/inaccuracy. If combined with some key logger and other devices, it could provide a very detailed picture of someone's communications and movements. But it would include a lot of noise as well, which would still require a lot of sifting and organizing to make sense of the data (and especially to filter out the noise).

If anything, I think these devices are more a money grab on the "spies" than a significant intrusion on the targets.

It's another layer of attack surface. You think attackers use just one bug? They use as many as they feasibly can to add redundancy and improve attack success rate.

I think it would be pretty easy actually, to keep up with the data - you could just get a Bluetooth headset and set your phone to automatically accept calls from your spying device, then listen in while you go about your day.

Or hook it up to a Twilio and receive text notifications when a new recording is available. Optionally auto-transcribe and do topic modeling to extract only discussions of interest.

+1 for the thought -100 for the thought...

But at the end of the day, we dont want to encourage the deep surveillance state... but we techie always look at this sort of thing and then say "hmmm... wouldnt it be interesting if..."

I don't think products like this encourage the "deep surveillance state" - if anything, they weaken it by loosening their monopoly on high-tech covert surveillance. These things can be used for good as well as evil - you could spy on a corrupt official or catch someone cheating just as easily as anything else.

Agreed. Anything that renders the previously invisible (state surveillance techniques) visible via consumer availability is anathema to state surveillance.

The majority of these techniques are allowed in the US because Congress doesn't know / care.

The more popular exploits of insecure technologies we get, the more security becomes an economically beneficial differentiator. And the more concerned calls your local Congressperson receives.

As others pointed out, this is unlikely to be used by "the deep state" - would you ever get a USB data cable from a public officer of any sort?

This is for jealous spouses.

"would you ever get a USB data cable from a public officer of any sort?"

Nope. But if somebody replaced the cable while you weren't looking ...

That sort of op has better tools already.

But the low quality audience for this device is likely incapable of doing such a thing. Now, a company with questionable ethics could facilitate this for clients...

> Now, a company with questionable ethics could facilitate this for clients...

OK, I will bite. I would not call any company doing what is already possible more convenient for users a company with questionable ethics. That, to me, is perfectly OK.

In my book what is questionable (despicable, actually) is making a product that, as a byproduct, generates side-effects undesired by users (such as easy tracking) and does not try to allow the user who cares to turn such features off.

The use case for this is going to primarily be someone who suspects their partner is cheating. This isn't for Jason Bourne.

It's probably great for abusive spouses who track their partner.

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