After one of my friends watched the Oliver Stone film, Snowden, she immediately went out and bought one of those rubber caps to cover the front-facing camera of her iPhone.
This of course, to me, seemed like a silly and unnecessary step to ensure privacy. The fact remains that they already have everything they want to know about you, regardless of what you do.
In 2013, the world was awakened to the reality that the National Security Agency was collecting the "metadata" of all phone communications of U.S. citizens as well as the full content of communications between Americans and foreigners outside the United States. This along with much more data, without a probable cause warrant as mandated by the Fourth Amendment.
This was a part of a larger scheme to collect personal data transmitted digitally by U.S. citizens and allies around the world since 2001.
When Snowden blew the whistle on this program, it seemed like much of the media responded with a big yawn. Was it because this was 2013, the first year of Barack Obama's second term as president? Could the mainstream media not respond to such a gross violation of American's rights, simply because it was happening under a Democratic president?
There's no way to say for sure, but yes, that was why.
But it's 2017 now, and we have a new president. A president hated by liberals, the mainstream media, the "deep state," and even insiders in his own party. You'd think that these critics of President Trump would be especially concerned if he were the beneficiary of gross violations of the Fourth Amendment, where the NSA is providing him with massive intel on U.S. citizens.
Yet there still seems to be silence on the matter. Maybe because the left thinks Obama holdovers in the intelligence community are helping to leak information about the administration in order to hurt President Trump's effectiveness in office. What they seem to be forgetting is that over the next few months, as Trump's cabinet is put into place, every last mole will surely be flushed out. Obama holdovers will be replaced by Trump loyalists. And whatever intel the deep state is acquiring will be in the hands of the most hated President by liberals since Ronald Reagan.
This makes today's revelations by Wikileaks even more troubling, because those with the power to broadcast this information and spark a system of accountability will most likely ignore it. What revelations might you ask? Why only that the CIA has created one of the most sophisticated infiltration and information extraction systems ever devised.
And these weapons have been compromised.
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive. (via Wikileaks)
This is a big deal, my friends. We have just learned that CIA has a 5000-man army of hackers that have developed more code than is needed to run Facebook- a social network with over 1 billion users. This strike force has created digital weapons that can undermine just about every major piece of technology used around the world including "Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones."
The CIA is using these tools without having to disclose what they are doing to the NSA. They are virtually unchecked in the kinds of things they can do with these weapons.
Their impressive team of hackers has found "zero day" holes in the security of smartphones and other devices. These flaws are supposed to be reported to manufacturers like Apple or Google, but the CIA keeps it quiet so they can, according to Wikileaks, monitor and infiltrate the devices of "the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers."
Some of what they can do with their malware is infiltrate smart TVs, like those made by major manufacturer Samsung, effectively turning their microphones and webcams into surveillance devices. I mentioned not too long ago, how we are becoming more and more like the society described in 1984. This is exactly that.
The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell's 1984, but "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization. (via Wikileaks)
They are referring to the "telescreens" that every person had in their homes. These devices could never be turned off and were always listening and watching citizens.
It gets worse from there. The CIA was also looking for ways to infect the "vehicle control systems" in modern cars and trucks. "The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations." This is not completely outlandish thinking. Recent reports mention how easy it is to confuse a smart car, with just a laser pointer. Imagine what the CIA could do.
Then it gets much, much worse. It appears that the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt is just a front for CIA operations in Europe. Their hackers can easily enter the country by claiming to be tech support, then have free access to 25 countries. They inject their malware and infiltration software into the networks of companies and government agencies, even computers that do not have access to the Internet, via USB drives or other removable media.
So we know that the CIA has developed incredibly sophisticated tools to hack, steal, and take over almost every major device on the market. Not only are they keeping security holes secret from manufacturers, they seem to want to monitor U.S. citizens, government officials, and even our allies.
And of course, this technology has been compromised, meaning other entities now have access to these weapons. How can this happen? Well, despite the CIA's impressive ability to acquire data, they don't seem to vet their own people very well.
Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booze Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers...
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike. (via Wikileaks)
The CIA has developed these tools in relative secret, without the consent or knowledge of the American people. You see Congress, the President, even the Supreme Court, are subject to the accountability of the American people. We elect these people and have the right to maintain a dialogue with them, so they know our concerns and needs. And if we feel they are not working in our best interests, we can elect someone to replace them.
We even have a say in the placement of judges, as our elected officials are tasked with that responsibility.
But the "deep state," made up of shadowy organizations whose job it is to work in secret, are not accountable to the American people. Even the elected officials for whom they are supposed to serve often do not know what the CIA or NSA are up to. Without the efforts of whistleblowers like Wikileaks, we would have never known about this problem.
You can argue that the release of over 8,000 documents is a breach of national security. Even if Wikileaks redacts some information, vital details might still be released to the public. But that is unavoidable when exposing this level of abuse and violations of civil rights. The CIA must be held accountable for the creation of such weapons, their potentially un-Constitutional use, and the results of these weapons falling into the wrong hands.
It's our job now not to panic or run for the hills. Smashing you iPhone won't solve the problem either. We must urge our lawmakers and leaders to hold the deep state accountable. The CIA's power to hack, infiltrate, and monitor Americans must be put into check. Wikileaks got the ball rolling; we must help it along.
This is a breaking story, so much more will be learned in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned.