US Orders Facebook to Censor Iran Posts; Israel Invited into DOD Web
If you ever wondered what would happen to the Internet during World War Three, here are two bookend news stories about how information is already being controlled at both ends.
First, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, suspended dozens of accounts this past week that expressed positive mention of assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Istagram accounts of Farsi language journalists that previously reached hundreds of thousands were suspended and posts removed by the company.
A Facebook spokesperson acknowledged that this was done after the parent company was informed that it could be prosecuted under U.S. Sanctions laws imposed in recent months on Iran.
Second, Whitney Webb reports the U.S. Department of Defense has opened a back door to Israel to intercept much of the data that flows through classified Pentagon and Intelligence Community computer networks and remote devices. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin became a major investor in the Israeli cybersecurity company. After installing Cyberreason's software across its own network, Lockheed Martin became the largest conduit providing Cybereason’s software to U.S. federal and military agencies. See, below . . .
Instagram Censoring the Accounts of Farsi Media Outlets and Iranian Influencers, International Federation of Journalists Says
By Jeffery Martin On 1/10/20 at 8:42 PM EST
Current Time 0:14
World Censorship Instagram Social media Iran
In the aftermath of the killing of Iran's major general Qassem Soleimani, Iranian journalists have reported the censorship of their Instagram accounts. Posts about Soleimani have disappeared from Instagram which is currently the only operational international social media site within Iran.
In a letter to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, the Association of Iranian Journalists in Tehran, Iran, called the censorship "unprecedented in the history of social networks and in conflict with the very innate actuality of media." The Association of Iranian Journalists is a full member organization of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
"At a time when Iranian citizens need access to information it is unacceptable that Instagram should choose to censor Iranian media and individual journalists and uses," said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger.
Newsweek reached out to Mosseri for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Stephanie Otway, a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told codastory.com that the company conducts business "under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government's designation of the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and its leadership."
[Instagram said any accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Revolutionary Guards, as well as content that supports it, are in violation of its community guidelines banning terrorist content.
“This is just a field of law that really hasn’t been written quite yet,” explained Eliza Campbell, associate director at the Cyber Program at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C, who said the existing laws had failed to keep up with online speech. “The terrorist designation system is an important tool, but it’s also a blunt instrument,” she said. “I think we’re walking down a dangerous path when we afford these platforms – which are private entities, have no oversight, and are not elected bodies – to essentially dictate policy, which is what’s happening right now.”]
How an Israeli Spy-Linked Tech Firm Gained Access to the US Gov’t’s Most Classified Networks
Through its main investors, SoftBank and Lockheed Martin, Cybereason not only has ties to the Trump administration but has its software running on some of the U.S. government’s most classified and secretive networks.
by Whitney Webb
January 14th, 2020
By Whitney Webb
If the networks of the U.S. military, the U.S. intelligence community and a slew of other U.S. federal agencies were running the software of a company with deep ties, not only to foreign companies with a history of espionage against the U.S. but also foreign military intelligence, it would — at the very least — garner substantial media attention. Yet, no media reports to date have noted that such a scenario exists on a massive scale and that the company making such software recently simulated the cancellation of the 2020 election and the declaration of martial law in the United States.
Earlier this month, MintPress News reported on the simulations for the U.S. 2020 election organized by the company Cybereason, a firm led by former members of Israel’s military intelligence Unit 8200 and advised by former top and current officials in both Israeli military intelligence and the CIA. Those simulations, attended by federal officials from the FBI, DHS and the U.S. Secret Service, ended in disaster, with the elections ultimately canceled and martial law declared due to the chaos created by a group of hackers led by Cybereason employees.
The first installment of this three part series delved deeply into Cybereason’s ties to the intelligence community of Israel and also other agencies, including the CIA, as well as the fact that Cybereason stood to gain little financially from the simulations given that their software could not have prevented the attacks waged against the U.S.’ electoral infrastructure in the exercise.
Also noted was the fact that Cybereason software could be potentially used as a backdoor by unauthorized actors, a possibility strengthened by the fact that the company’s co-founders all previously worked for firms that have a history of placing backdoors into U.S. telecommunications and electronic infrastructure as well as aggressive espionage targeting U.S. federal agencies.
The latter issue is crucial in the context of this installment of this exclusive MintPress series, as Cybereason’s main investors turned partners have integrated Cybereason’s software into their product offerings. This means that the clients of these Cybereason partner companies, the U.S. intelligence community and military among them, are now part of Cybereason’s network of more than 6 million endpoints that this private company constantly monitors using a combination of staff comprised largely of former intelligence operatives and an AI algorithm first developed by Israeli military intelligence.