NSA head suggests agency could exploit medical devices to monitor targets

At the Defense One Tech Summit 2016 in Washington, D.C., on June 10, the deputy director of the National Security Agency suggested a potential new use for biomedical devices, reports The Intercept: The agency could access and use the devices to track enemies of the state.

At the same summit, Deputy Director Richard Ledgett did say there are better and easier ways to track people of interest than via biomedical devices, but that it could be viewed as another tool the NSA has at its disposal.

When the Internet of Things, the invisibly connected network of devices and mobile technology that is slowly building up around individuals, first became a heavily discussed topic in relation to healthcare, this precise type of device hacking was of major concern. Some experts worry that in healthcare settings, the act of electronically trespassing into a medical device puts patient safety at risk. But so far, the predominant risk when it comes to patient medical devices is still computer error.

However, Mr. Ledgett is not the first U.S. official to suggest leveraging the Internet of Things for tracking purposes. Earlier this year, James Clapper, director of national intelligence for the U.S., made similar comments in relation to the government's ability to and consideration of hacking into devices to keep an eye on persons of interest, according to The Guardian.

"In the future, intelligence services might use the [internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials," Mr. Clapper said. 

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