Posted by Kraig Baker

The New York Times had a prominent article this week about how, now that most of us are inured to the risks of phishing, sophisticated identity thieves are using “keyloggers.” As readers of this blog probably already know, keyloggers are pieces of hardware or software programs that log each keystroke that a user inputs into his or her computer — including passwords. Keyloggers aren’t new — there are cases in California and Florida addressing the use of keyloggers — but their wide use as part of software programs and the corresponding wide distribution is the next escalation in the identity theft battle and will extend the risks of keylogging to a much larger segment.

More interestingly, I think that this is one more example of “James Bond” technology becoming available for general consumer use. We already have camera phones, encryption, data mining, and ubiquitous surveillance cameras. A quick trip to the local “spy” store will uncover a startling array of additional monitoring technology available to anyone. Our culture may be comfortable with the notion of trading privacy for national security, but I don’t think that it is prepared for neighbors planting listening devices in the house.