Positive takeaways from the CIA leaks

It's easy to focus on the Orwellian surveillance techniques that Wikileaks exposed.
Then again, a closer reading will reveal some silver linings.

#1) Thanks Snowden

Documents purportedly outlining a massive CIA surveillance program suggest that CIA agents must go to great lengths to circumvent encryption they can't break. In many cases, physical presence is required to carry off these targeted attacks.
"We are in a world where if the U.S. government wants to get your data, they can't hope to break the encryption," said Nicholas Weaver, who teaches networking and security at the University of California, Berkeley. "They have to resort to targeted attacks, and that is costly, risky and the kind of thing you do only on targets you care about. Seeing the CIA have to do stuff like this should reassure civil libertarians that the situation is better now than it was four years ago."
Four years ago is when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed details of huge and secret U.S. eavesdropping programs. To help thwart spies and snoops, the tech industry began to protectively encrypt email and messaging apps, a process that turns their contents into indecipherable gibberish without the coded "keys" that can unscramble them.

Again and again, Edward Snowden told us that "encryption works".
The CIA documents prove that a) he wasn't lying, and b) The Snowden Effect is a positive force in our lives.

In the past, spy agencies like the CIA could have hacked servers at WhatsApp or similar services to see what people were saying. End-to-end encryption, though, makes that prohibitively difficult. So the CIA has to resort to tapping individual phones and intercepting data before it is encrypted or after it's decoded.
It's much like the old days when "they would have broken into a house to plant a microphone," said Steven Bellovin, a Columbia University professor who has long studied cybersecurity issues.
Cindy Cohn, executive director for Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group focused on online privacy, likened the CIA's approach to "fishing with a line and pole rather than fishing with a driftnet."

#2) Like roaches after turning on a light

WikiLeaks may have finally done what many small and anti-government advocates have only dreamed of. They exposed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for what it is: a bloated government bureaucracy that has grown much too large to be restrained...
But perhaps most troubling is the revelation that the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal over time. That includes viruses, malware, trojans, malware remote control systems, and the previously mentioned weaponized exploits. In so many words, this means the U.S. government has handed over the key to the most intimate secrets of every single one of us to anyone with access to these lost tools. By allowing the CIA to grow so absolutely powerful, we also allowed the agency to be absolutely careless with our own lives.

Being evil is one thing. Empires will tolerate evil. But being incompetent is something else.
There is no hiding that. Eventually someone will ask questions.

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Comments

questions to be asked by people in power. The question will be, "What's the easy way out?" and the answer will be appropriate however much money is requested.

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

@duckpin @duckpin
and the CIA was no less murderous back then.

Perhaps their overreach of undermining Trump, if exposed, will prompt a new Church Committee.

Recall that it all started with a whistleblower and a journalist.

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@gjohnsit surprised if it comes to pass. Hard to believe that Church was a senator from Idaho.

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

as a kind of supra-legal attack dog. It should properly be kept on a very short leash, for the safety of all involved -- including the government itself. Unfortunately, successive Administrations have chosen for the sake of expediency to use a long, ostensibly retractable one. The problem with this device, is that it is all too easy to extend, and very hard to retract.

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native

Amanda Matthews's picture

thing that I've noticed throughout the years and that is when TPTB want to ensure that American's are shaking in their boots and pissing their pants in fear, you will see boatloads of programming making heroes and heroines out of CIA or FBI personnel or other government spooks.

Five minutes of flipping through the dials will show all these young and pretty people (with one old fart thrown in for shits and giggles) who never get a moments rest from having to 'save' us from all the bad guys out to kill us and our loved ones. These guys aren't playing 'cops and robbers either. All these baddies are out to set off a dirty bomb in the middle of a densely populated area and the good guys are all that stand between us and total annihilation.

I'm not saying that there aren't people out there who don't want to do exactly that. What I am saying is that 'Hollywood' does its part to keep the people scared of their own shadows. Fear sells. Between the 'terrorist' and the 'serial killer' shows, it's a wonder anyone leaves their homes anymore. And as stupid and susceptible as most Americans are now days, it's a great way to keep the public in line. Tell them they're ALWAYS in danger and the only hope for salvation for them and their loved ones are the 'authorities'. When you get enough people scared out of their wits, they don't really care HOW you catch the bad guys. For proof of what I mean let me use the way the NSA is spying on everyone. Once upon a time the country would never have put up with that. But now it's okay because "TERROR!". The programming has had the same effect as a lobotomy and the lobotomy took.

The t.v. industry owes a big thank you to bin Laden and other terrorists. They practically write these hair-on-fire stories for them.

(NOTE: Or maybe I'm just prejudiced because I believe American's spend way too much time 'watching' what passes for reality on their television sets, at the movies, or on Facebook.)

EDIT: Added 'took'.

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

@Amanda Matthews
get featured as the Bad Guys in a new adventure film? Any bets?

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native

Amanda Matthews's picture

@native

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

earthling1's picture

@Amanda Matthews I have noticed the same thing on the tube. Cop shows going way back to the 70s. NCIS north, east, west and south. Fantasy cop shows like Sleepy Hallow, Marvel's Shield, etc. And adult cartoons, o' christ, the mind numbing cartoons.
Lately I've noticed the disturbing trend of glorifying the deaths of police dogs, even from natural causes. They are successfully reversing the notion of police dogs as above humans, while at the same time stuffing humans into dog cages (see DAPL prisoners)as less than dogs.
Prepare yourselves, folks. A very dark future awaits us and our offspring.

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Alligator Ed's picture

Once government has total control over every basic aspect of our lives, those within government see no boundaries. Why? Because the burden of self-censorship or even personal responsibility doesn’t lie with the individual any longer. Once the government employee crosses over, stepping into a world where he’s protected by an invisible authority, he is no longer a person who is led by the same morals that guided him before he assumed this position — he’s now a bureaucrat. And as such, he now knows he will no longer have to be accountable for his actions.

What does that have to do with the latest revelations on the CIA? When a lack of personal responsibility meets the always ravaging needs of the monopolistic State, the individual loses any sovereignty he has over his own life. The government worker becomes a thirsty member of the State, always looking for ways to undermine freedom while the so-called private individual becomes just another government enabler under its control.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@Alligator Ed

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