Governments are also racing to capture traffic as it bounces back and forth from California, importing bulk surveillance devices, loosening spy laws, and installing centralized monitoring centers to offer officials a one-stop shop for intercepted data.
“Eventually, it won’t just be Big Brother,” said Richard J. Aldrich, the author of a book about Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping agency. “There will be hundreds of little brothers.”
But the siblings have a lot of catching up to do if they want to match surveillance powers of the United States, and some have turned to cyberespionage to try to even the playing field. A high-profile attack on Gmail users in 2010, for example, was blamed on Chinese hackers, while suspicion for separate 2011 attack on various U.S. webmail services fell on Iran.
But even in the dark arts of cyberespionage, America seems to have mastered the field. Washington is blamed for launching the world’s first infrastructure-wrecking super worm, dubbed “Stuxnet,” against Iran and for spreading a variety of malicious software programs across the Middle East. One U.S. general recently boasted of hacking his enemies in Afghanistan.
In his comments to the South China Morning Post, Snowden said Americans had broken into computer systems belonging to a prominent Chinese research university, a fiber optic cable company and Chinese telecoms providers.
“We hack everyone everywhere,” Snowden said.
U.S. officials haven’t exactly denied it.
“You’re commuting to where the information is stored and extracting the information from the adversaries’ network,” ex-NSA chief Michael Hayden told Bloomberg Businessweek earlier this year. “We are the best at doing it. Period.”<< previous 1 2 3 4