Back in December of 2010 I wrote a post titled Anonarchy
I said a few weeks ago in one of my blogs:
and I am feeling more strongly about this statement than ever before.
Some may think this information dump is a good thing, for our freedom, for transparency. I can't disagree with that from an idealistic point of view. From a pragmatic point of view, I don't know. I am personally concerned of a bigger clampdown of information. Sometimes there is a right way of going about things and a wrong way -- it doesn't have anything to do with what's legal. It has to do with what is best for our fragile democracy.
There are those that are celebrating the acts of Wikileaks. They are celebrating transparency, as an act of true patriotism. Will they celebrate when the government's website is taken down?
It just happened to Sweden.
Knowing they are capable of that, what will they say when they have their bank accounts hacked? Cellphone? How about the nation's power grid? How about when they decide to take down Wall Street, and financial institutions? Is that worth it in the name of revealing the "truth"?
It looks like the answer will soon be forthcoming. THIS is what Julian Assange has wraught. I wonder if the ends justify the means or vice versa.
One thing I do know: it's not going to get better anytime soon. It may not be a country attacking, but this is an attack -- you can be assured that nations will fight back. This is no longer about freedom of speech, this is designed to create insecurity among people as well as governments.
Fasten your seatbelts -- it's gonna be a bumpy ride. Welcome to the world's first cyber war, where we don't really know who is fighting it.
The latest cyber security breach, revealed by both the Washington Post as well as the Guardian Newspaper has brought a new round of discussion. The NSA, they have stated, has far more overreaching capabilities than the public seems to have wanted to be aware of. It's not like this hasn't been out there -- remember this post from 2008
? Or how about this post from our TriSec in October of 2007
? Those two posts alone are among thousands (a conservative number) that reported what was happening. We knew, we were informed. It didn't require hacking or procuring government documents and then releasing them to the internet wilderness to get that information.
Once again as I said in the post I referenced from 2010: "I am not an 'either you are for transparency' or 'you support the evil empire' kind of person. In the coming days, you will see people splitting up into these camps.
" So it goes. This time, it's different, as evidenced with Edward Snowden traveling from The USA to China and then to Russia. A few days later he was possibly on a plane to Bolivia
(a false alarm causing an international kerfluffle) and now maybe going to Venezuela. Curiously, since his departure from China we have not heard from Mr. Snowden. The only communication regarding the man are via statements from a Wikileaks representative. We are still waiting for the information he shared with Mr. Greenwald and others to be revealed.
What have we learned from the leaks that Snowden gave to the Guardian? It seems that we have learned that there will be a greater tampdown rather than the disinfecting sunlight the cyber community so badly wanted. There appears to be more insecurity and I am not talking about government secrets here, I am talking about creating a sense of mistrust of everyone and everything. Is this really what the likes of Assange, Greenwald, hacktivists and others really wanted to achieve? BobR wondered about this a while back
The reality, though, is that if it's possible to do these things just to make a political point, it's possible to do something much more serious. In anticipation of more serious hacking attacks, the US Government is re-classifying cyber attacks as acts of war:
The US government is rewriting its military rule book to make cyber-attacks a possible act of war, giving commanders the option of launching retaliatory military strikes against hackers backed by hostile foreign powers.
The Pentagon has concluded that the laws of armed conflict can be widened to embrace cyberwarfare in order to allow the US to respond with the use of force against aggressive assaults on its computer and IT infrastructure.
Pentagon officials disclosed the decision to the Wall Street Journal, saying it was designed to send a warning to any hacker threatening US security by attacking its nuclear reactors, pipelines or public networks such as mass transport systems. "If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks," an official said.
The new strategy would adapt the existing right of self-defence contained in the UN charter by bringing cyberweapons under the definition of armed attacks.
Is this a good development? On one hand, it seems that it's necessary. On the other hand, it seems like fertile ground for suppression, as well as easy-to-fake false flag attacks to justify military action. Such is the stuff of unintended consequences. Hackers acting under the guise of freedom may actually be triggering a response that makes matters worse.
Our National Security state is out of control. I don't argue this. We outsource not only government work but who is in charge of giving security clearances
. I'll say it again: Maybe it's time to stop outsourcing government -- it cannot continue both ways. We cannot have security while embracing privatization. I'm not against government contracting -- I'm against contracting out to private companies that have a say in who gets security clearances. FISA isn't the biggest problem
. Privacy is. We worry about our privacy from our government and yet we seem alright with people hacking allegedly in our name. We have allowed our privacy to be sold to the highest bidder and celebrated stealing and leaking of private documents.
So how do we fix it? Do we become hopeless and give up? Do we tear it down rebuild it back up? Perhaps a good start would be with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
. He's got a helluva lot more power than most people realize.
The 11 FISA judges, chosen from throughout the federal bench for seven-year terms, are all appointed by the chief justice. In fact, every FISA judge currently serving was appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts, who will continue making such appointments until he retires or dies. FISA judges don’t need confirmation -- by Congress or anyone else.
I'm happy to report there are some people that would like to adjust that power, hopefully equalizing our privacy state of affairs. Rep. Cohen has introduced the FISA Court Accountability Act
The chief justice would get to name three of the 11 FISA judges, and each of the four congressional leaders would get two appointments each. The result would be a guaranteed mixture of Republicans and Democrats serving on the court — a far cry from the current situation, in which the court is made up of 10 Republicans and one Democrat.
Sadly I don't think this will stop our current state of Anonarchy. There is a war going on and I fear that much damage is already done. We've all been hacked and are simply collateral damage. No one who has really been paying attention should be surprised.