Apparently, the United States National Security Agency has been spying on computers used in several countries through software buried within hard drives manufactured by big companies such as Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital.
Security researchers at Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab discovered personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs. The most infections were found in Iran, along with computers in Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria.
Although no country was named, Kaspersky said the program “was closely linked to Stuxnet,” the NSA-led cyberwarfare weapon used to attack Iran's uranium enrichment facility.
The latest report proves that U.S. espionage is cleverer than previously thought – no doubt about that. However, is it really going to help hold the NSA accountable for violating international laws?
Ever since the NSA revelations emerged in 2013, the American intelligence unit has been successful in avoiding any kind of punishment or accountability for its illegal activities.
It appears that when it comes to NSA, invading other nations’ government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media etc isn’t a big deal.
In fact, even people don’t seem to be as outraged as they were almost two years ago.
After whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked the damning mass surveillance documents in June 2013, the Obama administration and the British government came under national and international criticism for violating constitutional rights, invasion of privacy and the sovereignty of foreign countries.
More leaks followed in the following months. However, the outrage seemed to diminish with time.
Sensitivity toward NSA’s snooping has now come to the point where people read about it, show a little reaction and move on – primarily because the intelligence agency and the people responsible for the controversial programs have not been held accountable.
Sure, the White House called for "constraints" on NSA spying and appointed a panel that proposed curbs on some key surveillance operations, but has anyone or any organization been held accountable or tried in court?
The official censuring of GCHQ by a British tribunal is indeed a historic win. However, a lot more still needs to be done to hold these agencies accountable for violating international laws. “Revelations” or “latest leaks” are not enough, not anymore.