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US Intelligence paranoia creeps into tech industry, Yahoo is just the latest

US Intelligence paranoia creeps into tech industry, Yahoo is just the latest

US intelligence agencies can’t seem to keep their noses out of private citizen information, becoming more paranoid about the size and scope of their operations.

The extent to which the NSA, FBI, and CIA are infiltrating tech companies to access sensitive, private data is causing increasing alarm among citizens in the US and abroad.

Yahoo is the latest tech company under scrutiny after Reuters revealed this week that last year the platform “secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials.”

US intelligence agencies scanned hundreds of millions of emails for a certain “set of characters,” which could be keywords or specific phrases that they were looking for. What those set of characters consisted of, we’ll never know.

It may have been something as simple as having to do with keywords relating to terrorist activity, or more cynically, to secretly collect data on public opinion surrounding any given topic imaginable.

Herein lies the point. Since when did the NSA become so paranoid that they have to spy on every single individual that holds a Yahoo account? Was it just Yahoo, or are there other unnamed tech giants that haven’t been disclosed yet?

Intelligence is a revolving business

Intelligence agencies are used by governments to enact policy based upon the findings of the specific agencies. It becomes a revolving type of business that becomes more and more distorted as each cycle repeats. I’ll give an example.

The US Government wanted so badly to invade Iraq after 9/11 but it couldn’t draw any connection, whatsoever.

It then decided to use its intelligence agencies’ inconclusive report that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. That intelligence was used to justify the war even though it was completely false. As a result, the Patriot Act was signed into law, and the government was able to spy on its own citizens.

According to VICE, “Congress eventually concluded that the Bush administration had ‘overstated’ its dire warnings about the Iraqi threat, and that the administration’s claims about Iraq’s WMD program were ‘not supported by the underlying intelligence reporting.'”

The secret goal all along was to limit freedoms in the US and enact brutal foreign policy abroad. Now it comes full circle that the government created the false intelligence, implemented sweeping policies based upon the false intelligence, and is now using those policies to collect intelligence on private citizens. It can then take that intelligence and enact new policies, and the cycle repeats.

The US intelligence agencies have every reason to be paranoid because they are the ones who are committing the crimes against the American people by violating the Constitution. The increased spying on its own citizens further strengthens the argument that they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Before any tyrannical government can fully come to power, that government must first convince the population that it is in its best interest to enact new laws restricting freedom and privacy under the guise of “national security.”

The media industry is no safe haven from the arms of the intelligence community, and in 2013 the New York Times blew the lid off of Operation Mockingbird, in which the CIA infiltrated every major news organization by posing as journalists and planting fake news stories.

Read More: Propaganda Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: The Govt Infiltration of US Media

“The Times reported that at least 22 American news organizations, including CBS News and Time, Life and Newsweek magazines, as well as The Times itself, ‘had employed, though sometimes only on a casual basis, American journalists who were also working for the C.I.A.,’ and that ‘in a few instances the organizations were aware of the C.I.A. connection, but most of them appear not to have been.’”

Yahoo is just the latest tech company to bow to US intelligence

Adding to the privacy-destroying mix is Google. In 2009, after reporting massive hacking attempts to Google’s servers coming from China, Google reached out to the NSA and made deal.

Read More: CIA-backed, NSA-approved Pokemon GO users give away all privacy rights

“According to officials who were privy to the details of Google’s arrangements with the NSA, the company agreed to provide information about traffic on its networks in exchange for intelligence from the NSA about what it knew of foreign hackers. It was a quid pro quo, information for information.”

Two years ago, Google disclosed “that since 2009, national security letters have compelled the handover of customer records from as many as 1999 accounts every six months.”

However, when it comes to spying on US citizens like in the case of Yahoo, a Google spokesman told ars Technica, “We’ve never received such a request, but if we did, our response would be simple: ‘no way.'”

Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook have all denied working with intelligence agencies to access private citizen communications.

Intelligence agencies arm, fund, and manipulate terrorist organizations

Origins of al Qaeda and the Taliban

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union and the United States flexed their Cold War muscles in Afghanistan. In an attempt to prevent Communism from spreading into the Middle East, the United States armed and funded the Mujahideen freedom fighters in Afghanistan to take out the Soviet forces.

Read More: US, Russia repeating same mistakes in Syria as in Afghanistan

It is no secret that the CIA funded and trained Osama bin Laden (a native of Saudi Arabia) to the tune of $3 billion.

The CIA armed, funded, and trained the very Afghanis that later became the Taliban and the terrorist organization al Qaeda. al Qaeda, which literally means “the network” in Arabic, is in fact the name given to the organization by the CIA.

While the Soviet Russians were eventually expelled from Afghanistan, the country fell under the rule of the Taliban where al Qaeda was bred and buttered.

Origins of the so-called Islamic State

According to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), ISIS “traces its lineage to the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003,” which was a war based on false intelligence pretexts — mainly accusations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that have never been found.

Read More: Lebanon in Israel’s crosshairs as Syria’s war bleeds westward

“Though spawned by al-Qaeda’s Iraq franchise, it split with Osama bin Laden’s organization and evolved to not just employ terrorist and insurgent tactics, but the more conventional ones of an organized militia.”

Through both covert and non-covert military actions, the United States and its coalition allies gave rise to both al-Qaeda and ISIS, whom they are now pursuing from country to country, toppling governments, destroying all infrastructure, and killing thousands of civilians in their paths.

While the US intelligence agencies meddle in the private affairs of citizens, governments, and terrorist networks, they also compound their paranoia by continuing to spy on those they’ve wronged.

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  1. Pingback: Yahoo Exodus: Pharaoh Disables Email Forwarding - The Sociable

  2. Pingback: Tech-Illiterate Parliament Signs 500 Page Snoopers Bill into Law

  3. Pingback: UK Intelligence Agency Scouting More Startups For Its Cybersecurity Accelerator - The Sociable

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@TimHinchliffe

Tim Hinchliffe is a veteran journalist whose passions include writing about how technology impacts society and Artificial Intelligence. He prefers writing in-depth, interesting features that people actually want to read. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa, and Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co

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