CIA ‘Jokes’ About Destroying Our Privacy Show a Divorce From Reality
The recent CIA Vault 7 leaks, in addition to revealing pervasive spying on the public, dangerous malware, European Hacking via the Frankfurt Consulate, and alarming IoT snooping, has given us a rare glimpse at the inner workings of the most insular and idiosyncratic agencies in the US Government. What it reveals about their current working culture shows us an alarming disconnect between the people behind the malware, and the consequences of their actions.
Alongside CIA Trojans, Rootkits, and Botnet Software: Memes and Water Cooler Talk
Entertainment media often represents intelligence agencies like the CIA, as serious, dogmatic cabals, dealing with the nasty business necessary to keep our societies and values intact, that no one else is willing to deal with. Why wouldn’t they? It’s more consistent with the narrative to portray shadow agencies as deadpan and humorless, because they typically do horrible things. Those horrible things are arguably in the interests of their country, or for ‘the greater good,’ but it doesn’t make them any less sickening to the average citizen.
We accept this romanticizing of the CIA and others, because it’s easier to think that they’re as serious about the subversion of our morals, rights and freedoms as we are.
“Comodo’s user base, paranoid bastards that they are, has apparently caught wind of this and lots of them haven’t upgraded to 6.X. Kind of a shame, cuz this is a hole you could drive a very large wheeled freight carrying vehicle through. However, if you’re lucky enough to be going against a target running 6.X, have fun!”
The leaked user-pages also reveal a disturbing mentality engendered in these faceless software authors. The overall tone is one of predatory enthusiasm. You get the idea that these people enjoy playing with the people they target. Some aren’t just nonchalant about their massively irresponsible weakening of global online security, but are out-and-out gleeful to be participating in it:
“Ah yeah, OSB Projects y’all! You know we got the all the dankest trojans and collection tools for all your windows asset assist and QRC needs.“
There’s no rationalization, no strict professionalism. These people are conducting themselves, in the absence of any sort of accountability, like high-functioning sociopaths given a blank check.
We Need to Start a Serious Discussion About How We Got Here
Things like this don’t just happen. While we didn’t have a referendum on handing the keys to our alphabet agencies and letting them drive off of a cliff, we, over time, elected the representatives that did. We’re partially responsible, and there’s no getting away from that fact. The attitudes of the people we pay for to ‘protect’ us are as nightmarish as they are surreal. We, through our complacency, let it get this bad.
These people have an incredible amount of power, and all of the right circumstance and protections to abuse it. So where do we go from here?
We make privacy and government transparency mainstream, nonpartisan issues, and we pester our elected officials into forcing some disclosure and accountability. The need to keep secrets in the interest of national security is important, sure, but there should be limits, and intentionally weakening security for the people you’re supposed to be protecting by withholding exploits and security flaws, and developing tools to make spying on and interfering with their lives trivial should be beyond that limit.
It’s unrealistic to assert that we’ll ever completely stop this kind of behavior in government, but the least we can work towards making them take their citizens’ rights a little more seriously, and behave a little less like they’re entitled to unrestricted operation.
Do you think the CIA should take our privacy more seriously? Let us know in the comments below.