Journalist explains why US doesn't need hackers to control the world, and it's hard to disagree
'Russian hackers' have become the go-to bogeymen for Washington. There's little mention of American hackers though – probably because they aren't needed, since most of the internet is a branch of US intelligence.
The US, which is now raising massive alarm over Russia's supposed efforts to hack everything Americans hold dear, has been refusing to sign a treaty on cyberspace behavior with Russia for almost a decade now. The reason is simple, one Russian-American author explains: Washington doesn't need a treaty, because it dominates the digital space completely as it is.
Wonder why the USG has refused to sign a cyber treaty with Russia and China all these years? H’mmm.If you take a step back and survey the scene, it’s obvious that today’s constant “shifty foreigners are spying on our Internet!” freakouts are our own paranoid reflection. https://t.co/tDPk5ILOXG— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) October 5, 2018
Washington's panic over ‘Russian hackers’ is just a reflection of what it's been doing to the world for years, says Yasha Levine, the author of ‘Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet.’
Our foreign surveillance panic says more about what the US has been doing to the rest of the world than anything else. Remember: everyone with an iPhone or Android or Google or Microsoft account is directly being fed into the America’s global surveillance net. No hacking required— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) October 5, 2018
And thanks to surveillance programs like PRISM, outed by Edward Snowden 2013, the US doesn't even need hackers: just by being on social media or using Google, you're voluntarily surrendering your data to the NSA.
I remember crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border four years ago and watching as a Russian border guard took out his iPhone and snapped a picture of my passport and my journalist business card. I thought: that went straight to the NSA, courtesy of PRISM. No hacking required.— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) October 5, 2018
Far from scaling back its snooping after Snowden pulled the curtain on PRISM, the US has multiplied its efforts. Citing 'national security', lawmakers renewed the NSA's sweeping spying powers this year. Domestic phone surveillance tripled last year, user data requests to Apple doubled, and user data requests to Google were at an all-time high.
And just recently, the 'Five eyes' powers – the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – issued a memo demanding that tech giants implement ‘backdoors’ to allow governments direct access to users’ encrypted data.
America doesn’t need to hack — not when much of the Internet is a privatized extension of America’s NatSec apparatus.— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) October 5, 2018
The entire narrative of cyber threats to the "good guys" US is a smokescreen to hide the unenviable fact: it's the US that's the apex predator of the digital ocean.
But what the hell do I know. All I did was write a book on the subject. So carry on: Everyone is a threat, except us. We’re the good guys. Our corporate state spies and kills for democracy.— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) October 5, 2018
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