Principal Technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union
Dubbed the “Ralph Nader for the Internet Age” by Wired and “the most prominent of a new breed of activist technology researchers” by the Economist, Christopher Soghoian works at the intersection of technology, law, and policy. A leading expert on privacy, surveillance, and information security, Soghoian worked for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission as the first-ever in-house technical advisor to the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection. He is currently the Principal Technologist with the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. At South By Southwest Interactive 2014, he joined NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for a rare on-stage interview. "Whether he’s talking to staffers on the Hill, presenting at conferences, or giving interviews, [Soghoian] is direct, confident, focused, and unwavering," says Wired.
Can You Hear Me Now? Law Enforcement Surveillance of Internet and Mobile Communications
Internet and telephone companies now play an essential role in enabling modern surveillance by law enforcement agencies. The police merely select the individuals to be monitored, while the actual surveillance is performed by third parties: often the same email providers, search engines, and telephone companies to whom consumers have entrusted their private data.
Although assisting Big Brother has become a routine part of business, the true scale of law enforcement surveillance has long been shielded from the general public, Congress, and the courts. However, recent disclosures by wireless communications carriers reveal that the companies now receive approximately one and a half million requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies per year. When automated, industrial-scale surveillance is increasingly the norm, is communications privacy a thing of the past? For those of us who would like to keep our private information out of government databases, what options exist, and which tools and services are the best?
The FBI Is Controlling Your Webcam: Examining the Use of Hacking by Law Enforcement Agencies
By now, it is no secret that the U.S. government is in the hacking business. However, these capabilities are not limited to nation state attacks against Iran and China. They extend to law enforcement, too. The FBI now has a unit solely focused on hacking into the computers and mobile phones of surveillance targets. The software used by this unit can surreptitiously enable a computer's webcam; collect real-time location data; and copy emails, web browsing records, and other documents. And although the FBI has been an early adopter of this kind of surveillance technology, other law enforcement agencies are not far behind. Soon, local police will also have software capable of allowing them to hack into the phones and computers of suspected criminals.
While politicians are clearly scared about hacks from China, our own law enforcement agencies are also in the hacking business too. What does this mean for the current, heated debate about cybersecurity and our ability to communicate securely?
The Global Trade in Cyber Weapons
Over the past two years, the public has started to learn about the shadowy trade in software security exploits. Rather than disclosing these flaws to software vendors like Google and Microsoft who will then fix them, security researchers can now sell them for six figures to governments who then use them for interception, espionage, and cyber war. These flaws are only useful for their intended purpose if software vendors remain in the dark about them, and if fixes never reach the general public. As such, the very existence of government stockpiles of software security flaws, whether for law enforcement, espionage, or military operations means that government agencies are exposing consumers, businesses, and other government agencies to exploitable security flaws which could otherwise be fixed.
What should be done, if anything, about this part of the security industry? Are researchers who sell exploits simply engaging in legitimate free speech that should be protected? Or, are they engaging in the sale of digital arms in a global market that should be regulated?
@InterShh The cynical view? Yahoo suffered a major PR hit after the WaPo revealed Yahoo's poor security exposed their users to NSA spying.about 3 hours ago
- Twitter: Lavin
- Exclusives What Are You Reading?: Shetterly, Jackson, and Anand
- Politics When Donald Meets Hillary: James Fallows’ Pre-Debate Atlantic Cover Story
- Innovation Watch: Tech’s Top Innovators Shine on Amber MacArthur’s Bloomberg North
- Authors Margaret Atwood’s Latest? The Stunning Graphic Novel Angel Catbird