Are they watching us?

This is a little off topic for this forum, but I find the implications so disturbing that I'm writing about it anyway. This person claims that he found a hardware keystroke logger embedded in his new Dell laptop. Further he implies in his post that it was mandated to be there by the US DHS.

If this is true it has dire consequences for personal freedom and privacy. Do we in Canada have any legal tools at our disposal to ensure that Dell is not foisting the same compromised laptops on us?

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Seems to be a hoax

This story is a couple of years old and appears to have been debunked as a hoax by several websites. Apparently, the logo used in the FOIA reply letter in not the correct DHS logo. Also, the pictures seem to have been lifted from another site.

This is so unlike you

I passed this along to another forum and immediately got shot down. Here is the site the pictures are from.

Further info

The DHS letter is actually from the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. And it's addressed to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.


Eeek, well looks like I've been duped. Sorry folks. Well, I did say "If this is true" as it did sound rather unbelievable at the time. But there it is, I'm a victim of hoax. Well at least I can say it is the first hoax that got me. Please let this rotting carcass of a blog post remain as a reminder to all to be very careful about the rumors, half truths and lies that so easily get spread online.

Nope --we value privacy as much as you do

Darryl-as you've already learned this is a hoax. Urban legends like this can be readily checked at reputable third party sites like (this particular legend has been around for several years as noted here: Dell values customers' privacy - enough said.

Hoax? Well, yeah, maybe this time.

Interestingly on the same day I got suckered by this hoax, France is limiting the use of Blackberrys because of fear of US snooping.

This is just to say that I am not alone in my suspicion and distrust of the US government. Perhaps I jumped the gun a little bit with my post, but suspicion of their government is, none the less, quite justified, and I'm obviously not the only one to think so.

RIM is Canadian / France is being silly at best

Research in Motion is Canadian, not US. Not that I'm suggesting that the French blindly trust a Canadian corporation...

The problem here is non-FLOSS software (software that isn't transparent, accountable, or easily replaceable), not the flag flown in the country where a closed-source company is headquartered. I think that while what France is concerned with has some legitimacy (foreign entities using hidden software to invade privacy), being concerned about specific brands on non-FLOSS driven hardware is at best "silly".

We should really be laughing at France, not thinking that this is a legitimate response to the problem.

It is my recollection that France voted in favor of the European Copyright Directive, the European implementation of the 1996 WIPO treaties, which legally protects hardware vendors who lock down the hardware to disallow owner override which would allow hardware owners to make their own software choices. Rather than worrying about silly things like the Blackberry, they should be fighting to abrogate France and Europe's ratification of the 1996 WIPO treaties, and then work further within WIPO to get rid of those treaties entirely.

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.

US Servers

I think that the issue that France has with the Blackberry is not the device itself but the fact that emails sent to and from it pass through US servers.

Regarding copyright law, I think it's unlikely that France will be helping to fight DRM and overly restrictive copyright laws. Nicolas Sarkozy(known for his US-style stance on most issues) and the UMP have just won a majority in the legislative elections here last Sunday, giving them essentially unfettered control of the government. Although France is decidedly NOT the US(universal free health care, strong social support network, etc), on issues like DRM Sarkozy seems to lean towards restrictive copyright laws. He was a major sponsor of the 2006 law ( see: ) and as the new President now has free rein.
P. Moses
Potiers, France