CIA's Shrugtastic Response To Hacking Apple Security: 'It Is What It Is' And 'That's What We Do'

from the meh dept

We just had a story based on the Intercept breaking the fact that the CIA holds an annual hackathon (the CIA calls it a "Jamboree") to come up with new ways to hack secure systems, inviting in various contractors and government agencies. Much of the work is focused on hacking Apple's security, inserting backdoors and generally degrading security and encryption for everyone.

The CIA refused to comment on the Intercept's original story, but the reporters got former FTC official Steven Bellovin to sum it up as:
“Spies gonna spy,” says Steven Bellovin, a former chief technologist for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and current professor at Columbia University. “I’m never surprised by what intelligence agencies do to get information. They’re going to go where the info is, and as it moves, they’ll adjust their tactics. Their attitude is basically amoral: whatever works is OK.”
Now, "unnamed" anonymous CIA officials seem to be picking up where that shrugging comment left off. Talking to CNBC reporters, the CIA folks give similarly "meh" kinds of responses:
"That's what we do," the official said. "CIA collects information overseas, and this is focused on our adversaries, whether they be terrorists or other adversaries."
Except, of course, they don't just spy overseas. The CIA has done domestic spying as well, and the descriptions of the projects don't just impact people overseas. And then there's this one:
"There's a whole world of devices out there, and that's what we're going to do," the official said. "It is what it is."
It is what it is. That's someone who clearly doesn't care one bit about the negative consequences of attacking security and inserting backdoors that can harm everyone, just so long as they can also spy on people they don't like. You know, like the US Senate.

Filed Under: backdoors, cia, encryption, hackathon, jamboree, privacy, spying, surveillance
Companies: apple


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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Mar 2015 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And when those people in office lie, mislead, and do their best to hide what they are doing? When the 'committees' and 'courts' meant to keep them in check are instead run by those who's sole intention is to assist in the lies and hiding of the truth? When those that are meant to enforce and uphold the law instead chose to ignore it and look the other way when it's another government agency bending and breaking it? When the government makes it abundantly clear that if you expose it's actions they will crush you, making it incredibly risky for those with a functioning moral code and sense of ethics to come forward? How much blame do you think the public should bear then?

    The public has a good amount of responsibility towards the government, but a large chunk of that demands transparency, demands that the people know what is being done, and who is doing it, and the government has been doing everything within it's power, even if it has to make up laws and rules in the process, to avoid that transparency and the informed public that results from it.

    As such you'll have to excuse me when I don't buy the 'you get the government you deserve' and/or 'if the government is out of control, it's the public's fault for not reigning it in' arguments. The public deserves some of the blame, but the side lying, misleading, and hiding their actions from those they theoretically are supposed to serve shoulders most of it.

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