It’s not just your personal data United States security agencies have been stealing and manipulating in the name of fighting terrorism.
The latest documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation – a San Francisco-based international nonprofit digital rights group – show that the FBI created a fake Seattle Times news story to nab a terror suspect behind multiple high school bomb scares in 2007.
Christopher Soghoian — a principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C. – revealed the details of the secret program on his Twitter account.
“In 2007, FBI sent malware via a link intended to look like a Seattle Times/Associated Press story,” he stated while giving a link to the EFF documents.
That the FBI impersonated a newspaper's website to deliver malware to a target is outrageous. Over the top crazy.— Christopher Soghoian (@csoghoian) October 27, 2014
After calling the fake news links an act of blatant deception by the government, Soghoian added:
“The FBI impersonating the press is just as irresponsible as the CIA running fake immunization programs.”
The tweets prompted furious backlash, including a scathing article from The Seattle Times.
However, the question here is, are Soghoian’s revelations – the fact that the FBI published a false story to get what they wanted – really surprising?
It’s because the “shocking truth” about the wrongdoings of the U.S. security and spy agencies isn’t really, well, shocking anymore.
It all started in June 2013 when The Guardian published a copy of the top secret court order issued to Verizon Wireless, one of the largest telecommunications giants in the U.S., issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The order required the company to hand over all telephone records in its systems to the NSA.
The Verizon documents were followed by a series of revelations that exposed how the NSA, FBI and other American security agencies carried out mass surveillance at home and abroad – an exposé that triggered a public outcry and international condemnation.
More leaks followed in the following months. However, the outrage seemed to diminish with time.
The level of sensitivity of the masses toward NSA spying, as we can now observe, has come to the point where people read about it, react for a while and move on.
Also, considering the White House merely called for “constraints” on the illegal programs and didn’t do anything significant to hold anyone or any organization accountable in court, there is little hope for things to improve – not in the near future anyway.
Still, the fact that the FBI and other U.S. security agencies have long been involved in various illicit programs to nab terrorists doesn’t make all of it any less unethical.