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Government spying on Citizens

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Even now – after all of the revelations by Edward Snowmen and other whistle-blowers – spying apologists say that the reports are “exaggerated” or “overblown”, and that the government only spies on potential bad guys. In reality, the government is spying on everyone’s digital and old-fashioned communications. For example, the government Is photographing the outside Information on every piece of snail mall.

The government is spying on you through your phone and may even remotely turn on your camera and microphone when your phone is off.

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As one example, the NSA has Inserted its code Into Android’s operating system gauging three-quarters of the world’s smartness. Google – or the NSA – can remotely turn on your phone’s camera and recorder at any time. Moreover, Google knows Just about every Wife password in the world and so the NSA does as well, since It spies so widely on Google.

But it’s not Just the Android. In reality, the NSA can spy on Just about everyone’s smart phone.

Cell towers track where your phone Is at any moment, and the major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1. 3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011. And – given that your smartened routinely sends your location Information back to Apple or Google – It would be child’s play for the government to track your location that way. Your phone, or other brand of smartened is spying on virtually everything you do (Prolific notes: “That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker”). Remember, that might be happening even when your phone is turned off. The government might be spying on you through your computer’s WebMD or microphone. The government might also be spying on you through the “smart meter” on your own home. NSA also sometimes uses “man-in-the-middle” tactics, to pretend hat it is Google or other popular websites to grab your information. The FBI wants a backdoor to all software.

But leading European computer publication Helsel said in 1 999 that the NSA had already built a backdoor Into all Windows software. Microsoft has long worked hand-in-hand with the NSA and FBI so that encryption doesn’t block the government’s ability to spy on users of Seep, Outlook, Hotmail and other Microsoft services. And Microsoft informs intelligence agencies of with Information about bugs In Its popular software before It publicly releases a fix, so that information can be used by the government to access computers.

The most under- discussed aspect of the NSA story has long been its international scope. That all changed this week as both Germany and France exploded with anger over new revelations about pervasive Unserviceable on their population and democratically elected leaders. As was true for Brazil previously, reports about surveillance aimed at leaders are receiving most of the media attention, but what really originally drove the story there were revelations that the NSA is bulk-spying on millions and millions of Innocent citizens In all of those nations.

The favorite cry of US government apologists ?everyone spell ? falls Impotent In the face of this sort of ubiquitous, suspiciousness spying that is the sole province of the US and its four English-speaking points worth making about these latest developments. First, note how leaders such as Chancellor Angela Marker reacted with basic indifference when it was revealed months ago that the NSA was bulk-spying on all German citizens, but suddenly found her indignation only when it turned out that she personally was also targeted.

That reaction gives potent insight into the true mindset of many western leaders. Second, all of these governments keep saying how newsworthy these revelations are, how profound are the violations they expose, how happy they are to learn of all this, how devoted they are to reform. If that’s true, why are they allowing the person “ho enabled all these disclosures -Edward Snowmen – to be targeted for persecution by the US government for the “crime” of blowing the whistle on all of this?

If the German and French governments – and the German and French people – are so pleased to learn of how their privacy is being systematically assaulted by a foreign rower over which they exert no influence, shouldn’t they be offering asylum to the person who exposed it all, rather than ignoring or rejecting his pleas to have his basic political rights protected, and thus leaving him vulnerable to being imprisoned for decades by the US government?

Aside from the treaty obligations these nations have to protect the basic political rights of human beings from persecution, how can they simultaneously express outrage over these exposed invasions while turning their back on the person who risked his liberty and even life to bring them to light? Third, is there any doubt at all that the US government repeatedly tried to mislead the world when insisting that this system of suspiciousness surveillance was motivated by an attempt to protect Americans from The Terrorists?

Our reporting has revealed spying on conferences designed to negotiate economic agreements, the Organization of American States, oil companies, ministries that oversee mines and energy resources, the democratically elected leaders of allied states, and entire populations in those states. Can even President Obama and his most devoted loyalists continue to maintain, with a straight face, that this is all about Terrorism?

That is what this superb new Foreign Affairs essay by Henry Farrell and Martha Fingerer means En it argues that the Manning and Snowmen leaks are putting an end to the ability of the US to use hypocrisy as a key weapon in its soft power. Speaking of an inability to maintain claims with a straight face, how are American and British officials, in light of their conduct in all of this, going to maintain the pretense that they are defenders of press freedoms and are in a position to lecture and condemn others for violations?

In what might be the most explicit hostility to such freedoms yet – as well as the most unmistakable evidence of rampant panic – the Ana’s director, General Keith Alexander, actually demanded Thursday that the reporting being done by newspapers around the world on this secret surveillance system be halted Catchier has the full video here): The head of the embattled National Security Agency, Gene Keith Alexander, is accusing Journalists of “selling” his agency’s documents and is calling for an end to the steady stream of public disclosures of secrets snatched by former contractor Edward Snowmen. L think it’s wrong that that swapper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000 – whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these – you know it Just doesn’t make sense,” Alexander said in an interview with the Defense Department’s “Armed With that. That’s more of the courts and the policy-makers but, from my perspective, it’s “ring to allow this to go on,” the NSA director declared. [My italics] There are 25,000 employees of the NSA (and many tens of thousands more who work for private contracts assigned to the agency).

Maybe one of them can tell The General about this thing called “the first amendment”. I’d love to know what ways, specifically, General Alexander has in mind for empowering the US government to “come up with a way of stopping” the Journalism on this story. Whatever ways those might be, they are deeply hostile to the US constitution – obviously. What kind of person wants the government to forcibly shut down reporting by the press? Whatever kind of person that is, he is not someone to be trusted in instituting and developing a massive bulk- spying system that operates in the dark. For that matter, nobody is. He individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history s Edward Snowmen, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Bozo Allen Hamilton. Snowmen has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Bozo Allen and Dell. The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. L have no intention of hiding who I am because I now I have done nothing wrong,” he said. Snowmen will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistle- blowers, alongside Daniel Lesser and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organizations – the NSA. In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “l understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “l will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.

Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. “l don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing. ” He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. “l know the media likes to personalize political debates, and I know the government will demonic me.

Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his closures. “l really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we Ant to live in. ” He added: “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them. ” He has had “a very comfortable life” that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to story privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world Snowmen made final preparations that resulted in last week’s series of blockbuster news stories. At the NSA office in Hawaii where he was working, he copied the last set of documents he intended to disclose. He then advised his NSA supervisor that he needed to be away from work for “a couple of weeks” in order to receive treatment for epilepsy, a condition he learned he suffers from after a series of seizures last {ear.

As he packed his bags, he told his girlfriend that he had to be away for a few Knees, though he said he was vague about the reason. “That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence Nor. ” On May 20, he boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he has remained ever since. He chose the city because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”, and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.

In the three weeks since he arrived, he has been ensconced in a hotel room. I’ve left the room maybe a total of three times during my entire stay,” he said. It is a plush hotel and, what with eating meals in his room too, he has run up big bills. He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room Ninth pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them. Though that may sound like paranoia to some, Snowmen has good reason for such fears.

He worked in the US intelligence world for almost a decade. He knows hat the biggest and most secretive surveillance organization in America, the NSA, along with the most powerful government on the planet, is looking for him. Since the disclosures began to emerge, he has watched television and monitored the internet, hearing all the threats and vows of prosecution emanating from Washington. And he knows only too well the sophisticated technology available to them and how easy it Nil be for them to find him.

The NSA police and other law enforcement officers have twice visited his home in Hawaii and already contacted his girlfriend, though he lives that may have been prompted by his absence from work, and not because of suspicions of any connection to the leaks. “All my options are bad,” he said. The US could begin extradition proceedings against him, a potentially problematic, lengthy and unpredictable course for Washington. Or the Chinese government might whisk him away for questioning, viewing him as a useful source of information.

Or he might end up being grabbed and bundled into a plane bound for US territory. “Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the raids. Any of their agents or assets,” he said. “We have got a CIA station Just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be. Having watched the Obama administration prosecute Insensibleness at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. “l am not afraid,” he said calmly, “because this is the choice I’ve made. He predicts the government will launch an investigation and “say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the Interviews was when he pondered the impact his choices would have on his family, many of whom work for the US government. The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more. That’s what keeps me up at night,” he said, his eyes welling up with tears. Snowmen did not always believe the US government posed a threat to his political values. He was brought up originally in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His family moved later to Maryland, near the NSA headquarters in Fort Made. By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework. He later obtained his GEED. ) In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to Join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to Justify his leaks, he said: “l wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I let like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”. He recounted how his beliefs about the war’s purpose were quickly dispelled. “Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone,” he said.

After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged. After that, he got his first Job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency’s covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the tern and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma. By 2007, the CIA stationed him Ninth diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland.

His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents. That access, along with the almost three years he spent around CIA officers, led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw. He described as formative an incident in which he claimed CIA operatives were attempting to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowmen said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car.

When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment. “Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the Nor,” he says. “l realized that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good. ” He said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. But, at the time, he chose not to for two reasons.

First, he said: “Most of the secrets the CIA has are about people, not machines and systems, so I didn’t feel comfortable with disclosures that I thought could endanger anyone”. Secondly, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms, rendering disclosures unnecessary. He left the CIA in 2009 in order to take his first Job working for a private contractor that assigned him to a functioning NSA facility, stationed on a military base in Japan. It Nas then, he said, that he “watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I Hough would be reined in”, and as a result, “l got hardened. The primary lesson from this experience was that “you can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had Over the next three years, he learned Just how all-consuming the Ana’s surveillance activities were, claiming “they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them”. He described how he once viewed the internet as “the most important invention in all of human history”. As an adolescent, he spent days at a time “speaking to people with all sorts of views that I Mould never have encountered on my own”.

But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. “l don’t see myself as a hero,” he said, “because what I’m doing is self- Interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity. ” Once he reached the conclusion that the Ana’s surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was Just a matter of time before he chose to act. “What they’re doing” poses “an existential threat to democracy”,

Cite this Government spying on Citizens

Government spying on Citizens. (2018, Jan 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/government-spying-on-citizens/

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