Don’t Blame the NSA, They’re Only Human (so they spy on their love interests too)

computer creep

Imagine a hacker who breaks into some girl’s computer. Maybe he doesn’t even know her – he just wants to get to know her. Maybe he looks into her interests so that he knows what she likes. Or maybe he knows her – maybe it’s his girlfriend or wife, and he wants to know if she’s being faithful. This kind of hypocrisy is lost on fools with such power… but can you blame them? Can you honestly say that you wouldn’t take a “quick peek” at your lover’s private information to confirm whether or not they have been faithful? I would like to say “I would never do that!” but I honestly don’t know what I would do in that situation. But whether or not you too would do such a thing, this point is very clear: It is wrong to do this. Some random hacker shouldn’t be able read your emails and watch you through your webcam. So the question remains: Why is it okay for the NSA to do this?

Don’t blame the individuals of the NSA for their very human desires to want to know the truth. Blame them for being totally unaccountable and deceitful in the extent to which they are looking at people’s private information. The Daily Mail reports:

NSA officers have been using agency tools to keep tabs on their partner or spouse for at least the past decade, according to a Wall Street Journal report Friday. The spying isn’t often, but is has been given its own code name, according to the Journal, ‘LOVEINT.’

Instances of spying have averaged roughly one a year, a mere drop in the 3,000 violations of privacy rules a year bucket the spy agency recently disclosed

Three thousand privacy violations sounds much easier to believe, but I’m still not entirely convinced, because these numbers are self-reported. And do you actually believe that there is only one instance of NSA personnel spying on love interests per year? The Daily Mail continues:

The incidents are often self-reported and are revealed during polygraph tests administered during the renewal of a security clearance, according to the Journal.

If you actually wanted to find out who was lying, the entirely unscientific polygraph test wouldn’t be the way to do it – and neither would just asking someone “have you violated the law recently?” No wonder they report only one per year, if that’s their idea of accountability.

Business Insider had this to say (bolds were from the original article):

D.B. Grady, who co-authored the book “Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry” with fellow investigative journalist Marc Ambinder, said that the lack of oversight regarding abuse by NSA analysts is the most troubling part of the admission.

“The real shocking revelation about all that is that this information is self-reported,” Grady told Business Insider. “You mean there’s no record? I can’t download something from BitTorrent without my ISP shutting me down and these guys can spy on their girlfriends and boyfriends across the planet and nobody finds out? That’s the most shocking thing of all; all of the security mechanisms lack teeth.”

Grady explained that the systematic lack of security extends to analysts who want to abuse the system in other ways, such as the case of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

“My daughter can’t buy anything on her iPad without me putting in a password, but Edward Snowden can copy the entirety of the NSA computer system without putting in a password,” Grady said. “There are no internal protections, and if they exist, the people who work for the NSA are very smart. So if you want to break the system, you can break the system — Snowden proved that.”

This isn’t a gender issue, this is a power issue and a liberty issue. As the technology to spy evolve – from being able to access your already turned-off cellphone or computer to finger-print scans on cellphones – the ability to get private information increases.

Unfortunately,  intelligence agencies have worked with mainstream media all over the world to build up fear. They have led us to believe that we should be so afraid that we must give up our privacy for security. This is a false dichotomy.

Unfortunately, the technology advances much faster than the laws created to regulate them, and it’s quite possible that we have even passed the point of no return. It’s a certainly cozy place to be for the NSA. If crime rates are high, they say that they have even a greater need for spying. If crime rates are low, they say that what they have been doing is so important, because – just look – it’s working!

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