Now here is an interesting wrinkle. If you are familiar with spyware you probably aware that hackers can attempt to gain control of your computer and use it against you. Law enforcement adopted this tactic with their own hackers since the beginning of the century to catch criminals, log their keyboard, and more. Now the WSJ claims that they have confirmation that the FBI is doing just that with Android phones remotely. They don’t have much in terms of details but supposedly the FBI has a way to remotely hack Android phones and tap into the microphone. They do something similar with computers using the microphone and video camera if they are plugged in.
The big question is how the FBI is executing these remote taps. If they are installing malicious software on the device when they have it in their possession then this is not a big deal. On the other hand if they are exploiting vulnerabilities (or possibly even a back door) remotely then that is a totally different story. Still the Android OS core is reviewed by quite a few people trying to build ROMs so I am not sure how a back door would be missed.
Check out the fear mongering story over at the WSJ. In short there really is no privacy expectations in the digital world.