ABSOLUTE PRIVACY, I AM WORRIED ABOUT ANY PRIVACY …
Yesterday at the Boston Conference on Cyber Security, FBI Director James Comey said, “there is no such thing as absolute privacy in America.” This comes in the wake of the recent WikiLeaks data dump exposing CIA documents and the processes they use to spy on individuals using smart phones and TV’s. Comey and the intelligence community can down talk this all they want, but the fact of the matter is that most people do not expect “absolute privacy,” they expect the federal government to abide by the US Constitution. One has to wonder whether we can expect any privacy in this day and age.
Private citizens who have committed no crimes do not expect their data, conversations, emails, tweets, instant messages, whatever to be ease-dropped on by the government.
FBI Director James Comey warned Wednesday that Americans should not have expectations of “absolute privacy,” adding that he planned to finish his term leading the FBI.
“There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America; there is no place outside of judicial reach,” Comey said at a Boston College conference on cybersecurity. He made the remark as he discussed the rise of encryption since 2013 disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed sensitive US spy practices.
“Even our communications with our spouses, with our clergy members, with our attorneys are not absolutely private in America,” Comey added. “In appropriate circumstances, a judge can compel any one of us to testify in court about those very private communications.”
But, he also said Americans “have a reasonable expectation of privacy in our homes, in our cars, in our devices.
“It is a vital part of being an American. The government cannot invade our privacy without good reason, reviewable in court,” Comey continued.
MAKES ONE ALMOST WANT TO GO BACK TO A ROTARY DIAL LAND LINE OR BETTER YET, TELEGRAPH AND A PHILCO BLACK & WHITE TV WITH RABBIT EARS ANTENNA…
In the wake of the latest Wikileaks dump, several of the tech firms whose products have been allegedly compromised by the CIA have given their first reactions to the claims. Companies like Apple looked quell worries from their users by issuing a statement to TechCrunch designed to alleviate concerns that the company’s products might still be vulnerable to a laundry list of CIA exploits. In short, Apple maintains that many of the iOS vulnerabilities the CIA previously relied upon have already been patched.
Apple’s statement was the most detailed, saying it had already addressed some of the vulnerabilities.
“The technology built into today’s iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we’re constantly working to keep it that way,” it said.
“Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80% of users running the latest version of our operating system.
“While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities.
“We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security update.”
Samsung – whose F8000 series of televisions was reportedly compromised via a USB connection-based hack co-developed with the UK’s MI5 agency – was briefer.
“Protecting consumers’ privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung,” it said.
“We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter.”
The leaks also claimed that the CIA had created malware to target PCs running Microsoft’s Windows operating system.
“We are aware of the report and are looking into it,” a spokesman from Microsoft said.
Google declined to comment about allegations that the CIA was able to “penetrate, infest and control” Android phones due to its discovery and acquisition of “zero day” bugs – previously unknown flaws in the operating system’s code.
Likewise, the Linux Foundation has yet to publicly react to claims the agency had created “attack and control systems” that could hijack computers powered by Linux-based software.
The World Wide Web Foundation – which campaigns for internet privacy – said the US government needed to issue a detailed response.
WikiLeaks Publishes ‘Biggest Ever Leak of Secret CIA Documents’ & Exposes CIA Hacking Processes Through Smartphones & TV’s
AND WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE WORRIED ABOUT THE RUSSIANS?
Yesterday Wikileaks unloaded the the biggest ever leak of CIA secret documents and detailed the tools it uses to break into phones, communication apps and other electronic devices. WikiLeaks named the leak the “Vault 7”. The leak is not only that of secret CIA documents but also how CIA hackers target smart phones, computers and Samsung F8000 TV’s.
Just how much information does the CIA have a regular, normal citizens who have never committed a crime and have never been charged with anything? Who is to say that info is not going to be used against a private citizen for political purposes? We still do have a US Constitution in this country, right?
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.
The thousands of leaked documents focus mainly on techniques for hacking and reveal how the CIA cooperated with British intelligence to engineer a way to compromise smart televisions and turn them into improvised surveillance devices.
The leak, named “Vault 7” by WikiLeaks, will once again raise questions about the inability of US spy agencies to protect secret documents in the digital age. It follows disclosures about Afghanistan and Iraq by army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010 and about the National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ by Edward Snowden in 2013.
The new documents appear to be from the CIA’s 200-strong Center for Cyber Intelligence and show in detail how the agency’s digital specialists engage in hacking. Monday’s leak of about 9,000 secret files, which WikiLeaks said was only the first tranche of documents it had obtained, were all relatively recent, running from 2013 to 2016.
The revelations in the documents include:
- CIA hackers targeted smartphones and computers.
- The Center for Cyber Intelligence, based at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, has a second covert base in the US consulate in Frankfurt which covers Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
- A programme called Weeping Angel describes how to attack a Samsung F8000 TV set so that it appears to be off but can still be used for monitoring.
CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs
CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA’s DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see this organizational chart of the CIA for more details).
The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.
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.
The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate and has been sworn in as the Director of the CIA. Pompeo is the third person appointed by President Donald Trump to be confirmed to his cabinet position, as Senate Democrats and Chuck Schumer play petty party politics in delaying Trump’s choices. The vote was 66-32. Pompeo was sworn in Monday evening by Vice President Pence.
The Senate on Monday confirmed Rep. Mike Pompeo to be director of the CIA, following a spirited debate in which Democrats expressed concern about his stances on domestic surveillance, data collection and torture.
The vote was 66 to 32, with a majority of Democrats voting no — as well as Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Pompeo was subsequently sworn in.
“The president and I are confident in your abilities and know you will rise to the challenge to lead the Central Intelligence Agency,” Vice President Mike Pence said at the swearing-in.
Chris Wallace Grills CIA Director John Brennan on ISIS & Iran … “Didn’t You Give the American People and the President Give the American People a False Sense of Confidence Back in 2012 about Our Fight Against Islamic Terrorists at a Time”
Chris Wallace asks, Director, can we really say ISIS is losing?
Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace interviewed CIA Director John Brennan and asked some very direct questions when it came to the treats from both Iran and ISIS. Wallace asked why the Obama administration refuses to call or enemy for what they are, “Islamic extremists” and why President Obama and John Brennan have rejected identifying them for what they are. Brennan replied that ISIS was simply “a corruption of the Islamic faith.” REALLY? Director Brennen might want to read the Koran. It is not a corruption of the Islam, it is an interpretation that many agree with.
Brennan said the vast majority of Muslims reject ISIS’ actions. Wallace then directly confronted Brennan over why he and the president won’t openly talk about “Islamic extremism.” He asked why the administration is “ignoring” confronting them like that.
Brennan simply insisted that “it is a corruption of the Islamic faith.”
Sadly, the CIA director sounded more like a shill for Barack Obama than truly understanding and caring about the safety and protection of the United States. There were far too many references to touting Barack Obama and John Kerry during this interview as compared to folks like formal CIA director General David Petraeus and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who are persona non grata with the Obama administration.
WALLACE: Do you really think that the U.S. and Iran share interests?
BRENNAN: I think what’s Daesh, ISIL has been doing in the region is something that is counter to U.S. interests as well as counter to Iranian interests. And the Iranians are now engaged with their Iraqi partners to try to push back these forces of terrorism inside of Iraq.
So, Iran does have an interest in preventing further Daesh, ISIL terrorist attacks. At the same time, I think they need to be responsible as far as what they’re doing inside Iraq and not further inflaming that situation.
WALLACE: But your immediate predecessor in this job, General David Petraeus, said this week Iran is not an ally. It’s part of the problem, not part of the solution. And Benjamin Netanyahu, when he spoke to Congress, said the enemy of your enemy is not your friend, he is your enemy. [...]
WALLACE: General Lloyd Austin, the head of the U.S. Central Command, told Congress recently that ISIS is losing. But ISIS is still dug into Iraq and Syria. They now have affiliates across North Africa. They were possibly responsible for these terrible attacks this week in Tunisia and Yemen.
Director, can we really say ISIS is losing?
BRENNAN: Clearly, ISIS momentum inside of Iraq and Syria has been blunted and it has been stopped. So, they are not on the march as they were several months ago. And so, our working with the Iraqis and the Iraqis now trying to push back against it, it is having some great, I think, progress.
At the same time, this phenomenon of Daesh throughout the entire region is something that we need to work with our partners. We see what’s happening in other countries, in these franchises that are blowing up in Libya and other areas. They — they’ve claimed responsibility for attacks in Tunisia and Yemen.
This is something that clearly is not just restricted to Iraq and Syria. So, we cannot relent. We have to continue working with our partners in the region.
WALLACE: Here is what you said in 2012.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: If the decade before 9/11 was the time of al Qaeda’s rise and the decade after 9/11 was the time of its decline, then I believe this decade will be the one that sees its demise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Director Brennan, weren’t you just flat wrong about that?
BRENNAN: No. And when we look at al Qaeda and we look at what has happened to al Qaeda and particularly the core of al Qaeda that was in the area of Afghanistan and Pakistan, they have taken some really big hits.
WALLACE: But — but, respectfully, sir, when you were saying this is the decade of al Qaeda’s demise, I don’t think most people thought you meant, well, yes, but there will be an offshoot called ISIS which spreads across the Middle East.
BRENNAN: This phenomenon that Daesh represents right now is a new one. It is one that has grown up in the past two years.
WALLACE: But it’s an offshoot of al Qaeda.
BRENNAN: We’ve done a lot against al Qaeda. We’ve been able to push them back. We’ve been able to prevent their attacks.
But there are these offshoots, as you say. This is a phenomenon that we’re going to have to deal with. And I do think over the next decade, this is going to be a long, hard fight.
WALLACE: I guess what I’m asking is didn’t you give the American people — and the president give the American people a false sense of confidence back in 2012 about our fight against Islamic terrorists at a time, perhaps not so coincidentally, when the president was running for reelection?
BRENNAN: What we said was al Qaeda was on the run. We said that al Qaeda was really bloodied and it was not the same organization that it was in 9/11, as well as in the years after that.
There was no sense that I think either I or the president or others gave to the American people that terrorism was going away. But we’ve made great progress against a lot of these groups that had plans in place to carry out attacks.
WALLACE: You talked recently of the ideology — your word — that fuels ISIS.
What is that ideology?
BRENNAN: It is a very twisted, perverted interpretation of a religion that they purport to represent, but in no way do they represent. It’s an ideology of violence. That’s what it is. It is not a religious ideology.
WALLACE: Well, Islam is certainly a part of it, isn’t it?
BRENNAN: They purport to be Muslims. But as I said, the overwhelming majority of Muslims throughout the world roundly denounce and condemn what they’re doing. And that’s why we should not give them any type of religious legitimacy.
WALLACE: This gets to your refusal and the president’s refusal to talk about Islamic extremism. (MORE)