From The Verge: Last month, we discussed whether the new Microsoft Kinect could be used as an NSA spying tool. When it comes to the microphones in Android cell phones and laptop computers, though, surveillance might not be a theoretical question. The Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI can already remotely activate those microphones to record conversations.
That's according to a single anonymous former US official, mind you, and neither the FBI nor Google was willing to confirm or deny the report, but remotely forcing a cellular mic to eavesdrop isn't a new idea. The FBI's so-called "roving bugs" were used against alleged mobsters in 2004, and in 2002 the FBI kept tabs on supposed criminals using the microphone in a vehicle's emergency call system. What's new, according to several former anonymous officials, is a dedicated FBI group which regularly hacks into computers, using both custom and off-the-shelf surveillance software which it buys from private companies.
This may or may not be true, but if it is, that's amazing.