The US intelligence agencies are facing fresh embarrassment after WikiLeaks published what it described as the biggest ever leak of confidential documents from the CIA detailing the tools it uses to break into phones, communication apps and other electronic devices.
Following on from our recent victory against unlawful surveillance by the British intelligence services, Privacy International is taking the British Government to court again. Why? Because it is using ‘general warrants’ to hack the electronic devices (computers, phones, tablets, and the increasing number of things that ‘connect’ to the internet) of sweeping groups of unidentified people at home and abroad. General warrants permit the government to target wide categories of people, places or property (e.g. all mobile phones in London) without any individualised suspicion of wrongdoing.
Los refugiados no tienen derechos. De ahí se deriva que sus teléfonos pueden ser hackeados y sus ordenadores también. Al parecer, esto es lo que ha hecho -legalmente y según The Observer – los funcionarios de la oficina de inmigración británica. En 2013 recibieron poderes para hackear los dispositivos electrónicos de todos los refugiados y peticionarios de asilo que considerasen necesario. Y lo consideran.
The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.” The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call.
The tools were created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG’s use of “fake victim blog posts,” “false flag operations,” “honey traps” and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.
A smiley face indicates how pleased the NSA was with this intrusion into Google’s security system. Photograph: Washington Post
Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy. And then there’s Edward Snowden, who was a spy and then became something else. Nobody’s neutral about him. The other day I heard a senior military officer describe him unambiguously as “a thief”. In Washington he seems to be universally regarded as a traitor. Many people in Europe regard him as, at worst, a principled whistleblower and, at best, a hero in the Daniel Ellsberg mould.
Whatever you think about him, though, one thing is clear: Snowden is a pretty astute geek. The evidence for this is in the way he approached his whistleblowing task. Having concluded (as several other distinguished National Security Agency employees before him had) that the NSA had misinterpreted or overstepped its brief, he then identified prominent instances of agency overreach and for each category downloaded evidence that supported his conjecture.
We’re now getting to the point where we can begin to assess the bigger picture. What do the Snowden revelations tell us about what’s wrong with the NSA – and its leading overseas franchise, our own dear GCHQ?
US military staff at the Pentagon: Love is charged with hacking into secure networks to gain classified information. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters
A British man has been charged in the US with hacking into thousands of computer systems, including those of the US army and Nasa, in an alleged attempt to steal confidential data.
Lauri Love, 28, is accused of causing millions of pounds of damage to the US government with a year-long hacking campaign waged from his home in Stradishall, a village in Suffolk.
Love was arrested on Friday by the National Crime Agency, dubbed “Britain’s FBI”, after an international investigation led by the US army’s criminal investigation command.
His arrest was announced on Monday, after US prosecutors filed an indictment in a federal court in Newark, New Jersey.
US attorney Paul Fishman said: “According to the indictment, Lauri Love and conspirators hacked into thousands of networks, including many belonging to the United States military and other government agencies.