Edward Snowden was acting selfishly when he gave away classified information to China and Russia and, most recently, the world press. We are a global power, are directly linked to the world and are under constant cyberattack. Post the Snowden leak, several major events have occurred.
British and U.S. spies were pulled out of hostile countries because they could be identified.
The Office of Personnel Management and other government hacks have been tied directly to foreign governments.
ISIS was tipped off on how our government was spying on them in our country.
Earlier this month, the US News and World Report announced yet another huge hack, resulting in the Internet publication of data for 191 million U.S. voters. Practically all voting Americans can now be targets of ID theft, fraud or even personal threats.
The National Security Agency and our domestic intelligence agencies have been unfairly portrayed as the Orwellian type of Big Brother. After 9/11, Americans were determined to stop such horrific terrorism on our soil. As a result, our intelligence communities adopted some pretty effective measures to catch and thwart similar attacks. Clearly, those measures must be secret. Would it be effective for a spy to go around telling people what he is going to do before he does it?
White blood cells, or leukocytes, are the cells of the immune system involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. Our intelligence communities are the white blood cells of the American body of people. They fight for our nation’s physical and functional health, protect us from physical and electronic illnesses and also attempt to prevent any total system failure. In related news, the Ukraine recently reported a cyberattack that took out some of its power grid.
Privacy supporters are in an uproar, saying we are in great danger from our nation’s intelligence community spying on Americans. Who published the American voter database on the Internet? Who is sharing data from the OPM hack on the Internet? Who is using the hacked data to steal our personal identities for financial gain? I can assure you, it is not the American intelligence communities.
An Internet world
When America transformed to a nation connected to the world via the Internet, we gave up our right to total privacy. Period. More often than not, devices contain back-doors that foreign nationals and governments use to spy on us. Does that sound like privacy? Keyboards are being shipped with key loggers that record all our keystrokes. Teapots contain covert WiFi hacking devices that connect to any nearby network and send the data to foreign states. Vehicles can now be remotely hacked and controlled through Uconnect.
In history, you find similar stories of espionage and spying. Remember the Trojan horse given to the city of Troy by the Greeks? Troy was practically impenetrable. The Greeks built the great wooden horse as a gift to the city, which Troy accepted. When the city of Troy slept, Greek soldiers climbed out of the horse and opened the gates to the city, and that was the end of Troy.
We are being shipped many products from around the world, a benefit of our global economy. Rarely are we aware of the personal danger they pose. However, our much stealthier intelligence community is aware. Big brother is watching you, America. Our intelligence brother is looking over our shoulders, fending off an army of nation state hackers. Unlike the foreign attackers, our brother seeks to serve and protect each citizen’s right to privacy and uphold our constitution.
If we examine the context of the situation, and the intelligence community’s role of deterring terrorism on America’s soil, you will see the intent has proven to be one of protective surveillance.
Jennifer Edwards of Wilson is chief security officer at Bogier Clinical & IT Solutions in Raleigh.