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Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, March 8th, 2017 - 99 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Media, Politics, spin, Spying - Tags: , , ,

So the CIA  accesses phones and TVs and laptops. And the CIA has been passing its code (more than is used to run facebook) onto private contractors. It’s staggering just how far into so many lives the grubby fingers of the CIA can slime. There should be an immense amount of fall-out from this. But it seems sections of liberal media are already out with mops and buckets. This from ‘The Guardian’ – The US intelligence agencies are facing fresh embarrassment

You get that?

The fact that we seem to be living in a world akin to the Stasi on steroids – with instantly searchable and real time data as opposed to filing cabinets filled with ‘dob in your neighbour’ reports; that’s all a sideshow. The real concern is the CIA’s embarrassment. Expect more of a hullabaloo about the source of the documents than there will be about the contents of the documents. Expect arms to be thrown in the air at the CIA’s inability to keep secrets. Expect aspersions to be cast on either the authenticity of the documents or the relevance and/or efficacy of the codes and programmes revealed. Expect many versions of that old “nothing new and nothing to see” chestnut.

There’ll be a bit of descriptive reporting, but the hard questions will be washed out by a flow of tittle tattle and any attempt to focus on power will be dissipated by a 1001 “OMG! Is my Samsung TV watching me?” pieces of pap.

In other words, the liberal media will now dutifully execute its role as apologist and protector of power.

99 comments on “Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed”

  1. Tophat 1

    I don’t think any of this is new, it’s just confirmation that they are using it.

    ” “OMG! Is my Samsung TV watching me?””- The guns always loaded and the horse always kicks- is the best attitude to adopt if one is want to have these things in the home.

    • Bill 1.1

      From the post – Expect many versions of that old “nothing new and nothing to see” chestnut.

      From you – I don’t think any of this is new, it’s just confirmation that they are using it.

      Maybe I should draw up a fcking bingo! card?

      • Tophat 1.1.1

        Wow who laced your corn flaks with pepper this morning? Not saying nothing to see here just placing it in context as it is nothing to crow about either.
        Also saying that there is FUCK ALL you can do except treat all smart devices as loaded and watch in awe.

        • Muttonbird 1.1.1.1

          ‘Our masters know best’

          Spoken like a true conformist.

          • Tophat 1.1.1.1.1

            “‘Our masters know best’

            Spoken like a true conformist.”

            Either I am piss poor at explaining myself of you’re just an idiot. The former is possible the later is likely in any case.
            Let me try again.
            As these people will do what they do and because it is impossible to stop them exploiting these devices, it is best to treat everything as compromised anyway.
            If you don’t want to let a device spy on you simply don’t give it any information you don’t want associated to you.
            Treat your online activities like someone is reading over your shoulder, like you would back in the day on a party line.
            I don’t like it either but it is a fact we just cannot change.
            If it isn’t our own government, you can rest assured it is someone else’s or worse.

            • the pigman 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope, you’re not piss-poor at explaining yourself. Just a standard standard pile-on in action.

              It goes a bit far when someone magicks a quote out of thin air, attributes it to you, then cheekily describes the manner in which you said it, right?

              • Muttonbird

                Just calling a ‘that’s life’ shrugger a ‘that’s life’ shrugger.

                Saying there is nothing you can do about it is pathetic and betrays all the victories won by civil rights movements and resistance over the years.

                There’s something peculiarly devoid of humanity and devoid of aspiration about people like tophat and yourself.

  2. Sabine 2

    are the other spy agencies are doing the same, or are we just to render our garments and clutch our pearls when the CIA does it?

    Cause frankly, if in today’s world you expect not to be on some sort of surveillance i have some US Health Care Policies to sell you.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      Yes, they are.

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        lol……. 🙂 thanks OAB, needed a laugh.

        here have some health care policies freshly minted in congress.

    • Bill 2.2

      Nothing to see here (again!) cause…everyone’s doing it Sabine, aye? You’d have been a relaxed East German citizen back in the day then? Stasi shmasi?

      I think you’re kind of failing to grasp the scale and depth of the surveillance we’re talking about here – to say nothing about oversight (or lack of) and accountability (or lack of).

      Neither are you taking into account that the various viruses and codes that the CIA have developed are more or less in the public domain. Think about that one for a sec.

      Instead of developing defensive software or alerting companies to vulnerabilities, the CIA went all offensive on it, spread its weapons around willy nilly and didn’t bother (it seems) to develop or encourage defensive measures because of some faith in MAD (mutually assured destruction)

      The MAD scenario might – just might – have played out of the only people able to access all this stuff were governments. But that’s not how it is.

      • Tophat 2.2.1

        “Instead of developing defensive software or alerting companies to vulnerabilities, the CIA went all offensive on it, spread its weapons around willy nilly and didn’t bother (it seems) to develop or encourage defensive measures because of some faith in MAD (mutually assured destruction)”
        What do you expect it’s the CIA not your local church script kiddie club.

        • Bill 2.2.1.1

          If Intelligence Agencies are doing nothing about defensive capabilities, then they’ve (in this case) made US concerns incredibly vulnerable to cyber attacks from people using the very software that US intelligence agencies developed.

          Maybe think of it like having the largest nuclear arsenal in the world but no standing army in a situation where you’ve passed out the blue prints for your nuclear systems to all and sundry.

          It’s beyond reckless.

          But as per the subject of the post, it’s the reaction of our media in coming days and weeks I’m more interested in for now.

          • Tophat 2.2.1.1.1

            You don’t think this could be a diversion from the U’S’ current political woes?
            I mean it’s not like wikileaks have an untarnished reputation…

          • Liberal Realist 2.2.1.1.2

            +1 Bill

            If Intelligence Agencies are doing nothing about defensive capabilities, then they’ve (in this case) made US concerns incredibly vulnerable to cyber attacks from people using the very software that US intelligence agencies developed.

            The horse has well and truly bolted.

            The most dangerous thing about the whole fiasco is that malicious forces (who knows who?) are likely now in possession of very destructive and dangerous tools.

      • Sabine 2.2.2

        mate, that is not what i said.

        Fristly:

        I said that i find the pearl clutching in regards to spying – especially if the us does it – a bit hypocritical as a. everyone does it, b. i am german so i am really biased when it comes to the quality of other agencys then the Stasi, c. everyone who has a smart phone/fb/messanger and that sort of stuff is essentially sitting an a Panopticon.

        Secondly:
        I think you’re kind of failing to grasp the scale and depth of the surveillance we’re talking about here – to say nothing about oversight (or lack of) and accountability (or lack of).

        again, Stasi, the whole point about spies is that you don’t know who is one and who they work for, so essentially you can turn a whole country into spies. Which is what is going to happen to the US unless and until eventually someone might ask the question Qui bono?

        Thirdly:
        The CIA does what the CIA does and guess what all the other Agencies are doing more or less the same shit. Kompromat, genosse, Kompromat is the word. Do i have shit on you? Can i get your co-operation for your shit?

        Fourth:
        MAD is currently underway and it is called Climate Change, global warming, or simply just shit coming our way with no way out.

        Fifth;
        I personally have lived now through two nuclear ‘accident’, Tschernobyl and Fukushima, am i supposed to be scared that the shitheads that run the world might blow us up? Seriosly? Why? If they do, we are toast, IF they don’t they kill us on slow flame. Retirement at 67? Have a look at the US where 80 year olds work to get health care.

        so yeah, excuse me if I get out the popcorn and don’t give a shit.

        • Cemetery Jones 2.2.2.1

          I feel like that post was a really long way of saying, “but Trump!”

          • Sabine 2.2.2.1.1

            nah. I have been saying now for a very long time, that I personally don’t care much about Trump.

            I don’t. I find him to be offensive as one can be, i think he is by far not as successful as some might think – and again success is different in the eyes of everyone. And frankly, if they could just stop lying about shit that they said, especially when there is a record of them saying shit.

            But, and that is a big but, the Reason i never did fall for the con of stopping World War 3 and him bringing freeance and peeance with the Russians is essentially the company that keeps.

            So if you care, i worry more about Pence and Ryan then Trump. Trump is a grifter who at the moment is raking it in. and why not, the ones that are supposedly are in oversight of the Presnit, are essentially enabling and indulging him in his ways.

            So yeah, i care more about women having access to female centric healthcare then the CIA.
            I care more about children getting good schooling then i care about the CIA.
            I care more about water quality, air quality then I care about the CIA.
            I care about no drilling in the Arctic, i care about renewable energy, i care about buying some time so that the younger ones coming after us old farts get at a minimum a fighting chance.

            Trump? He is an old fart, who sooner then later will die and most likely will never suffer teh consequences of his greed and avarice. Its his and our grandchildren who will pay his debt.

            so everyone who still wants to play cold war n shit, go ahead.

            Me i have popcorn, have a giggle at the outrage of people that the CIA does what the Cia does, which is the same as the Russians, the Germans, the Chinese, The Kiwis and other do, namely keep taps on people that could fuck it up for the so called elite.

            more popcorn please.

            • Cemetery Jones 2.2.2.1.1.1

              Well, I would most certainly agree with this!

              “So if you care, i worry more about Pence and Ryan then Trump.”

              They are pretty terrifying, especially the Ayn Rand worship of Paul Ryan. The writings of Ayn Rand are pretty much just economically codified Darwinistic Satanism in my opinion.

              “So yeah, i care more about women having access to female centric healthcare then the CIA.
              I care more about children getting good schooling then i care about the CIA.
              I care more about water quality, air quality then I care about the CIA.
              I care about no drilling in the Arctic, i care about renewable energy, i care about buying some time so that the younger ones coming after us old farts get at a minimum a fighting chance.”

              I understand that alright, but I believe that the intelligence agencies and their banking and military-industrial brethren are key to preventing any further advancement of humanity, inclusive of the issues you’ve cited there. The early CIA and their predecessor the OSS were very much joined at the hip with Wall Street.

              • Sabine

                mate, that might be all right if you are a bloke and you never ever have to deal with a pregnancy go south cause…man.
                seriously, these things for women are life and death, and looking at the fertility worshippers and forced birthers, these things are fucking important.

                More important then the CIA, or any of the other foreign spy agencies.

                and that is what pisses me of about this one sided conversation, namely that there are many blokes very happy to throw the needs of others namely women, children, old people, sick people etc under their bus with their fear of tomorrow.

                But hey, i am not a man, so clearly i don’t have it to just understand how much they are all linked together and how important it is that Trump blows it all up so that sunshine can disinfect it. And if a few more women die, if a few more colored children get shot, if a few more get locked up forever, its all good – cause collateral damage.

                guess waht, the people in East Germany knew they were spied upon and they knew that they were spies. This however did not prevent them from having medical health care, good schools, and enough to eat.

                • Oh, I wouldn’t want to come across as that being my emphasis – but I accept it may seem that way. I’ve seen some very dangerous health scares and devastating results in friends’ lives from pregnancies which went awry. But your East Germany story is interesting. Modern Germany has a welfare state to rival if not exceed that of the GDR (though I would agree that the analysis of this is often overly simplistic, and there are many things the GDR did very well). But now Germans face domestic surveillance of the blatantly pro-US Bruno Kahl: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/02/17/german-intel-clears-russia-interference.html

                  I don’t want there to be dead kids & women coloured or otherwise as the price of change, but as things are, they are certainly going to continue to be the price of the status quo. That’d I’d like to change big league. I just don’t see a way of it happening beyond a cosmetic level with the beast power of the MIC continuing its current course.

                  • weka

                    The problem I have with the focus on the military-industrial complex or what have you, is that the people who favour that generally won’t acknowledge that it’s theory developed by men under the patriarchy. So round and round we go.

                    If women were being listened to, or BLM in the US or Māori in NZ, or whoever is not at the top of the pile, if real power sharing was going on here, I’d have some hope that the mic analysis might be useful in the world Sabine is talking about.

                    • I most definitely acknowledge the value of patricarchy in any such analysis – I believe it’s a key element in the narratives of paternalistic authority and the familial concept of nationhood which numbs people to intelligence agencies and the veneer of inevitability which surrounds them and their activities.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    It confirms what we already knew.

    The question is what to do about it. Defunding the spies just gives the neighbours an unfair advantage. A Kiwi Bundesdatenschutzgesetz?

    1. Prohibition with reservation of permission:
    The collection, processing and use of personal data is strictly prohibited, unless it is permitted by the law or the person concerned gives consent (§ 4 I BDSG).
    2. Principle of immediacy:
    The personal data has to be collected directly from the person concerned. An exception of this principle is a legal permission or a disproportionate effort (§ 4 III BDSG).
    3. Priority to special laws:
    The BDSG supersedes any other federal law that relates to personal information and its publication (§ 1 III BDSG).
    4. Principle of proportionality:
    The creation of standards restrict the fundamental rights of the affected person. Therefore, these laws and procedures must be appropriate and necessary. A balancing of interests must occur.
    5. Principle of data avoidance and data economy:
    Through the use of data anonymization or pseudo-anonymization, every data processing system should achieve the goal to use no (or as little as possible) personally identifiable data.
    6. Principle of transparency:
    If personal data is collected, the responsible entity must inform the affected person of its identity and the purposes of the collection, processing or use (§ 4 III BDSG).
    7. Principle of earmarking:
    If data is permitted to be collected for a particular purpose, use of the data is restricted to this purpose. A new consent or law is required, if the data will be used for another purpose.

    Outlaw cookies?

  4. tuppence shrewsbury 4

    Much as i dislike trump for being a complete buffoon, this does give his claims some credence. the same claims that everyone rubbished him for.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      That’s because his claim is bullshit. POTUS has no power to order surveillance of US citizens.

      • tuppence shrewsbury 4.1.1

        And yet the tools exist to do this? are you saying that because no explicit order was made, which lets be honest would be one of the most foolhardy things any POTUS could do, that it wasn’t done?

        All of a sudden the government and it’s agencies who possess the power are whiter than white because it’s Obama in charge?

        Deluded

        • McFlock 4.1.1.1

          I’m sure any international calls he made, especially to Russia, were tapped automatically, and might even have been reviewed by an actual human being.

          Like everyone in the US.

          Obama would not have explicitly or implicitly ordered surveillance on trump. If there was a targeted investigation on trump, Obama might have been informed. But even then, tapping/hacking his phone domestically would have required court orders and so on.

          Yes, the tools exist. Existence does not necessitate use in any specific instance.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.2

          No, that isn’t what I’m saying. What I said is perfectly clear, and I’ve expanded on it in other comments. Perhaps English comprehension 101 might help you.

      • Macro 4.1.2

        Then there is THIS! Donald Trump’s phone was the only one I DIDN’T tap, confirms Obama.

        Operatives out of the Utah Data Centre are understood to monitor every phone call in the United States, but they admitted that Trump had been overlooked as they hadn’t realised he was smart enough to remember a four-digit telephone passcode.

        “We were very lucky with Donald as he was the only person we weren’t listening to in the entire country,” Obama told us.
        –– ADVERTISEMENT ––

        “Normally when people are conspiring with a hostile foreign power they try to keep it quiet, but this is a guy who holds national security meetings in a golf course restaurant.

        “We didn’t have to work to listen to his private conversations, because he never has any.”

        /sarc

      • RJL 4.1.3

        Sure, but people in Trump Tower undoubtedly had their communications intercepted by US intelligence agencies. Every off-shore communication is intercepted, practically by definition. And we’ve had a Trump appointee resign because their communications with the Russian ambassador were intercepted (therefore revealing that they had lied about the existence of such communications).

        So, while Trump’s claim may be inaccurate in detail. The substance, that Trump Tower / Trump allies would be subject to surveillance during the election period *is* almost certainly true. Which is why Obama’s spokespeople are only claiming that the White House didn’t intercept Trump communications. Which is why for this argument Trump will win where it matters, with his supporters. Obama is already reduced to claiming that POTUS somehow isn’t responsible for the actions of US intelligence agencies, and relying on the testimony of Clapper (who is a proven liar in this arena).

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.3.1

          Was POTUS responsible when the CIA illegally hacked the US intelligence committee?

          Ultimately as the commander in chief, probably a bit, yes. Does that mean he ordered them to do it? Probably not so much.

          This infantile view of an all-seeing all-powerful POTUS is just that: infantile.

        • Skeptic 4.1.3.2

          RJL – I think it’s pretty clear that US intelligence agencies didn’t target Trump – they did target who he was chatting to because he/she/they were a “person/people/group/nation of interest” – ie someone who has detrimental intentions towards the US. As such they are “fair game”, and Trump got trawled. Now, doesn’t that just make you wonder who Trump’s “controller” is – I’m guessing it’s a former KGB counter intelligence officer whose first name is Vladimir.

  5. I’m not saying it isn’t a big deal I just can’t work out why it is. I don’t think we live in a stasi world and my 3 closest rivers have shit in them.

    Anyone monitoring 99% of any communications including watching from turned off smart tv’s will be bored shoeless in 5 minutes.

    I do appreciate the post. Good to keep up with stuff I don’t normally keep too up to speed on or at least only at a msm indocrination level ☺

  6. Andre 6

    How many people happily hand over all kinds of info to private companies via their devices and then go OMFG the CIA can spy on me through my electronica?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11813551

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Facebook isn’t trying to destabilise nascent democracies.

      • Andre 6.1.1

        Give ’em time. They’ve yet to learn the great traditions of corporate America.

      • Sabine 6.1.2

        nah, they just allowed FB to be swamped with ‘fake’ news. And then there are those that claim Zuckerman to be a CIA asset.

        Fuck me, there is on thing Trump said that i agree with him. Don’t use email/phone if the information is sensitive use couriers.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.2.1

          HUMINT is just as good as a wiretap when everything Trump does is leaked by his own staff.

  7. Tory 7

    If all the “Left” had stayed with using their Russian produced Rubin TV then you would have nothing to worry about.
    Instead you embrace capitalism, buy all the “nice toys” us capitalists cherish and then cry foul when it turns out the CIA have been hijacking them.
    Stay true to your cause, ditch the “toys” and you have little to worry about.

  8. Obama did nothing wrong.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      That’s right.

      …the bulk collection of Americans’ phone metadata by the NSA wasn’t in fact authorized by section 215 of the Patriot Act…

      Congress is the authority in question.

      • Y U link article about NSA in response to comment about a President in an article about the CIA?

        Especially when said article you linked ends thus:

        “Now that this program is finally being examined in the sunlight, the Executive Branch’s claims about its legality and effectiveness are crumbling. The President should end mass surveillance immediately. If not, Congress needs to finish the job and finally end this dragnet.”

        • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.1

          POTUS has the power to amend and/or repeal acts of Congress? Your knowledge of the US constitution is so bigly 🙄

          • Cemetery Jones 8.1.1.1.1

            I was quoting the article you linked – big league. I guess don’t try and refute people with articles which don’t support your argument!

            EDIT: and just why are you still saying ‘bigly’? Everyone knows Trump’s catch phrase is ‘big league’. I guess you might need your hearing checked ‘bigly’?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Whereas your argument is the equivalent of blaming Helen Clark for the illegal actions of the Police during the Urewera raids.

  9. tc 9

    Then theres the vulnerabilities in firewalls, switches, servers etc that US vendors like cisco want to patch but cannot.

    As the CIA/NSA expolit them so US vendors sometimes have to wait in some cases for permission or the public domain pressure from users to fix it… if users know it exists.

  10. Philj 10

    The deflection of our MSM didn’t take long. RNZ had a
    US apologist implicating Russia for this Wikileak on Morning Report . Guyon was very accommodating and failed to ask for evidence. Or is the new journalism standard ‘anecdotal evidence’? Lol

  11. McFlock 11

    Haven’t gone through the actual wikileaks stuff, and probably won’t, but the “big deal” isn’t that agencies are hacking stuff. We know a lot of this stuff is at risk from even trivial efforts – anything with a mic is a bug, with a camera is a camera, and with an external connection is vulnerable. That’s why people are pissed about blackberries and android phones in the oval office, for example. Heck, entire tv shows revolve around cloning/hacking phones.

    The interesting stuff is in the corporate/intelligence relationships (apps and hardware), the international cooperation (or not), but also in that the source is apparently an informal discussion medium amongst IT hackers who should know better. The yanks are employing careless jerks. Compare that with China, which seems to run a disciplined military operation, and Russia, which seems to be more arms-length contracting: both of those seem reasonably secure from this kind of bullshit.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, sort of thing…

    • The yanks are employing careless jerks.

      That’s the thing I find most concerning about this leak. It would be odd if the US government didn’t have people doing this kind of thing, so that’s nothing to write home about, but the fact that the people doing it are apparently far less careful and professional than their Chinese and Russian counterparts is a real worry.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1

        Privatising military ops works just as well as privatising anything.

        • Bill 11.1.1.1

          What if one of those private contractors ‘leaves the farm’ as it were and unleashes a pile of this crap that no-one has defenses against? Or lets say a pile of it gets into the hands of deranged head-chopper types – what then?

          • McFlock 11.1.1.1.1

            well, the case in point is wikileaks, which on several occasions has released identifiable data of people who were still in harm’s way.

            Funnily enough, ISTR it was the contractor (Snowden) who leaked system-damaging but not life-threatening data, while the soldier’s (Manning) data wasn’t properly redacted by wikileaks.

            • Bill 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Ah, no. The ‘crap’ I’m referring to is the actual malware.

              • McFlock

                Same effect though.

                At least it’s not like the legacy PLCs that have an open IP and no access control. Think “stuxnet” but being able to access the system 24/7.

            • Andre 11.1.1.1.1.2

              Did Snowden give anything to wikileaks? ISTR he chose recipients with a bit more sense of responsibility, like The Guardian and Greenwald.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1.1.2

            Um, yes: privatising governance is a mistake, a clusterfuck waiting to happen. The SOE notion isn’t just broken, it wasn’t a model to begin with.

            Models (try to) represent the world. The SOE notion simply articulates right wing thinks.

            To paraphrase PJ O’Rourke, when spying is bought and sold, the first things to be bought will be the spies.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1.1.2.1

              Spies cannot be usefully employed without a certain intuitive sagacity.

              They cannot be properly managed without benevolence and straightforwardness.

              Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make certain of the truth of their reports.

              Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every kind of business.

              Sun Tzu.

              That being so, what kind of fuckwit relies on the private sector for the work they do?

  12. Wayne 12

    The issue is not really the capabilities. Surely we are not surprised that the NSA/CIA has these kinds of capabilities.

    The real issue is who they are used against, and under what conditions.

    For that you look at the law, and the warrants that are required. The law has recently been strengthened. Also there are protocols between the Five Eyes nations. That is they do not surveil each others residents.

    New Zealand now has a pretty stringent warrant process.

    In reality GCSB and SIS are not interested in very many people. But they are interested in some, these days mostly would be (and actual) jihadists.

    To use this type of surveillance they have to get a warrant from the Inspector General with Ministerial approval (as I recall). There are strict criteria to justify a warrant. There is then a whole reporting process including to Parliament, at least as to the numbers obtained per year.

    That is why these sorts of things no longer provoke a “shock, horror” response. Most people expect intelligence agencies operating in the cyber domain to have pretty impressive capabilities. All this does is confirm that.

    • Bill 12.1

      The UK absolutely does not carry out work for US intelligence and US intelligence absolutely does not carry out work for NZ intelligence where one intelligence agency or another needs a degree of plausible deniability due to domestic laws. Roight.

      And the GCSB and SIS and NSA and who-ever are mostly interested in jihadists? Really? So not really interested in tapping the phone of Germany’s Chancellor, or monkey wrenching Iranian centrifuges, or gaining commercially sensitive information from foreign companies? Hmm.

      How many jihadists you reckon would there be sitting on an i-phone or whatever running apps while watching a big screen Samsung or whatever? Somewhere in the region of between ‘precious bloody few and none’ I’d reckon.

      There is next to no oversight of these fuckers and (apparently) next to no accountability riding right alongside next to no security. But you’re lines will be echoed or be an echo (it’s hard to tell which is which) of mainstream media commentary designed to distract, diffuse and bury.

      I see lines already touting it as a US v Russia thing and the tired old element of doubt seeking traction on the grounds that it’s wikileaks…

      That’s where the story is for me – in the reaction of different centres of power who share the common agenda of protecting the staus quo (current configurations of power) and palming anything and everything all off as normal and nothing to worry our silly little heads about.

    • McFlock 12.2

      OK, so the GCSB (as a completely hypothetical example) would never break its own laws in order to spy on a NZ citizen or permanent resident inside NZ’s borders?

      And (should they ever do this thing that they would never do) the law would never be changed by the parliament of the day to merely reflect and permit the extent to which the intelligence agencies exceeded their previous authority, rather than stiffening the penalties for individuals and directors of agencies that exceed their authority?

      Wayne, you really need your own personal “moment of truth”…

      • Wayne 12.2.1

        McFlock,

        Given that there has been a pretty intensive effort to improve the accountability over the last three years, with everything being tightened up, I cannot see Parliament doing what you suggest.

        Unless you think all that effort was all flim flam which the actual spies blithely ignore. That Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy, were just that; patsies.

        • McFlock 12.2.1.1

          well, yes, the spies did blithley ignore their constraining laws (and not for the first time in the last 20 years or so).

          So no reason for that to change.

          And how many people were charged with unlawful interception of a communication when it came to KDC? Anyone? So yeah, doesn’t seem the minister in charge made heads roll.

          And were the constraints on the spies’ powers preserved, or simply expanded so they could legally do what they were previously doing illegally?

          You can see why some folks might be a little bit unimpressed.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2.1.2

          “Unimpressed” is an understatement. It’s all very well for right wing fuckwits (like you, for example, Dr. Mapp) to have delusional notions of private sector grandeur (while bludging your wages from the taxpayer).

          It’s another thing entirely when you outsource military operations (like spying, for example) to “Libertarians” like Peter Thiel.

          That’s when your delusions become a threat to national security.

        • Jan Rivers 12.2.1.3

          Wayne,

          The problem was not with the Cullen Reddy report which was regarded by many as pretty good. Perhaps you are not aware that the current bill – the New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill – currently in the House ignored many of those recommendations? I made a select committee presentation and here are a just a few of the problems I believe were introduced into the bill:

          The making legal of various things “which would otherwise be illegal” including
          the creation of false personal and corporate identities and absolving them from the legal consequences of actions taken in pursuit of their activities.

          New Zealand’s economic well-being is one 1 of 3 reasons for the legislation but economic well-being is not defined. The Cullen-Reddy report proposed that this apply only to foreign persons but it does not. It includes people acting ‘as the agent of a foreign power’ which would include NZ heads of international organisations and there are other classes of New Zealander for who domestic spying would be permitted. The Cullen Reddy report explicitly addressed the need to remove this problem.

          In any case this creates problems of contested territory. Is the legislation protecting the economic well-being of citizens like Graeme Hart or Peter Thiel or the 50% of New Zealanders who jointly own only 4% of the wealth in NZ or the 7% who are in net debt?

          Section 13 of the Bill provides for information collected to be provided to ‘any class of person here or overseas’ approved by the Minister and for co-operation with any person, company or government here or overseas. This could mean literally anything – another government, a security contractor, a commercial entity or even an covertly created organisation here or overseas.

          The direct holder and direct access agreements allow the security agencies to access information held by other agencies – and allow the new combined GCSB agency – to request any information of any private or public agency and to have access into government databases provided that there is an agreement between the relevant Ministers including much information about New Zealand citizens.

          I think that’s enough to be going on with but I note that the Cullen Reddy report was necessary because of the problems arising from the 2o13 changes to the original 2003 Act, put though under urgency, which made it unworkable.

  13. Canary 13

    As someone who was a Labour rights activist who in 2014 had someone sit down beside me in a foreign country and tell me what I and my ex-girlfriend did in bed, I know well how surveillance is used. The primary use of intelligence gathered is to intimidate, threaten, and derail those who have been foolish enough to go up against corporates who are protected for “New Zealand’s Security” by our intelligence agencies – or secret police bullies. It really is that simple. It will becoming increasingly common. You’ll see. Meanwhile I’ve been called crazy by anyone I told, had mocking letters sent to me by the GCSB and SIS both confirming that I was surveilled in a nasty and cold tone and without apology – but only after I threatened them with information. Until then they ignored me and, yes, told anyone who inquired I was crazy and a fantasist.

    From working hard in multiple arenas with promising prospects years on I am not far off broke and dead and that eventuates they are to blame.

  14. Wayne 14

    OAB
    Have we actually met somewhere?
    Your level of personal invective in this and many of your responses to me would seem to indicate some sort of grudge.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      Your behaviour has given me a very low opinion of your character. McFlock has explained some of the reasons for that.

      I recall your saying that the increase in inequality these last thirty-odd years was deliberate. Then there’s the assault on human rights and the rule of law (as detailed by the Law Society) that you participated in while in Parliament. These aren’t some arbitrary political disagreements: you have done real harm.

      If the only consequence you face is being called a fuckwit in a political discussion forum, I can think of worse things.

  15. Ad 15

    It’s great that over 150 national constitutions mention the right to privacy in some form or other. But personally I don’t think it’s a strong value, I don’t think we value it as a society. I’m not even sure we should anymore.

    • the pigman 15.1

      And, just like that, the zenith has been reached.

    • weka 15.2

      “It’s great that over 150 national constitutions mention the right to privacy in some form or other. But personally I don’t think it’s a strong value, I don’t think we value it as a society. I’m not even sure we should anymore.”

      There is research to show that people want far more privacy rights than they have on things like social media, but feel that there is no real choice in the sense that they can’t just choose to stay off social media. So they sacrifice their privacy. That’s not the same as not valuing it or not wanting to keep it.

      Ask people about having CCTV in public bathrooms or their GP’s office and I think you’ll get an idea of how people feel about privacy. Or if they’re ok with their medical records being publicly accessible. Privacy is not that hard to understand as still being highly valued.

      “I’m not even sure we should anymore”

      Can I ask why you use a pseudonym here? Just if you feel like saying.

    • Bill 15.3

      What’s the point in valuing privacy of you’re feeling powerless? If we leave everything else aside, we’ll likely feel there’s nothing we can do about the intrusions of….well, power. And that’s the nub of it. Cut through the smash and focus on power. We can work on that 😉

  16. Vault 8 will be pay dirt …subject NZ National Party….he he he. Can’t
    wait.

    • james 16.1

      Sorry Appleboy – But KDC has filed to deliver so, so, so many times – I just would hate to see you get upset when he lets you down – yet again.

  17. Skeptic 17

    There’s a lot of twaddle and disinformation/misinformation being parroted here. I’d refer readers to Nicky Hager’s book Secret Power and recommend earnestly that before you get fingers busy on keyboard, you read it thoroughly and digest it fully, asking yourself the implications behind what is revealed. The amount of email, text and conversations soaked up by “echelon” today is literally far to much to analyse properly unless it is culled/screened fully to filter out the dross. That said it is quite obvious that certain people/groups/nations etc are specifically targeted. Like what probably happened to Donald Trump, he was overheard talking/communicating with the wrong people – ie he wasn’t targeted, but the people he spoke to/communicated with were!!! Should Mr Joe Average be concerned? That obviously depends on what you’re up to – if you’re doing nothing illegal then it doesn’t matter who listens in. If they act on what they’ve overheard, they break the law big time – even if what you’re doing is controversial, but not illegal. If you’re paranoid-delusional, then by all means get really, really upset, up-tight and frothy at the mouth. But for the rest of us, well, even paranoids have enemies – eh.

    • Canary 17.1

      I thought I was paranoid until I put in a request and the
      agencies confirmed my fears.

      I thought I was just dealing with nasty people until they came right out and started telling me personal information that there was no way they could have known without CIA type collection powers.

      This was after being monitored closely by an Asian diplomat (weekly coffees with a friend) and interest from present and former diplomats and leaders of associations related to that country who were all invested in certain businesses for the greater good of the economy let’s say…

      You really are a naive. If you as perceived to be a threat to an industry practice, however wrong, you will have your career wrecked and suffer intimidation.

      • Skeptic 17.1.1

        Sorry, Canary, but I’m far,far too old and too well educated to be naive. I read with interest your story above and there are lots of questions and advise I could give you. As a starting point ask yourself, “were they interested in you, or someone you associated with? ” Then ask “what was I doing that might have attracted the interest of intelligence services?” “Which groups were I involved with that might have been under surveillance?”
        I noticed you were in another country when approached. Did you get legal advice at any stage? If so did any advice get acted on? Did you make any approach to the Privacy Commissioner? The Ombudsman?
        Really – NZ SIS and GCHQ have a lot on their plate to be making frivolous investigations. I have heard plenty of horror stories, but when pointed questions are asked there’s usually a damned good reason for the investigations or the stories are – how shall I say this – slight and not so slightly exaggerated. That’s not to say those agencies get it right all the time – the Urewera Raids are a case in point where a particular world view distorted a molehill into a mountain – the investigations into the NZ Communist Party during the 1950s and 1960s are another. However given the rather stringent parameters that NZ intelligence operates under, and our strict privacy laws, and the good old Kiwi Clobbering Machine/Tall Poppy Syndrome – they are under an extreme amount of pressure to “get it right” and by and large they do.
        How long ago did this happen? Seek legal advice if it wasn’t too far in the past. It’s free at the local Community Law Centre.

        • Canary 17.1.1.1

          Right… because Fullman was so clearly a bad guy as well.

          Economic protectionism (including ensuring “stability”) trumps human rights and democratic participation every time.

        • Canary 17.1.1.2

          and by the way being under pressure to “get it right” is meaninglesss when there is almost zero accountability and no scrutiny.

  18. tuppence shrewsbury 18

    It is incredible how quiet everyone on the left has been about trumps claims he was hacked and spied on since this came out.

    Just saying

    [lprent: Just saying that Trump hasn’t provided any evidence. ]

    • tuppence shrewsbury 18.1

      Just saying that the tools and the will were there. which doesn’t validate his claim, but does lend some credence.

      There is always an awful lot of suspicion and accusations made towards intelligence agencies when they aren’t attacking the so called enemies of the progressive………

  19. Tophat 19

    Better late than never I suppose.
    A few tips that I find soothes most surveillance issues for the private user are-

    Use a VPN from each separate device. Both android and ios have lists to choose from. For your smartTv too, google play have extensive software to choose from.
    Use a firewall from each individual device. I am trying, NoRoot, at the moment and have no issues, this software also incorporates it’s own VPN, it doesn’t use rooting it is simple to install. The downside is a massive loss of speed. But that’s the price sadly. When using andriod try to use only open source software that has it’s code available to the community. This usually discounts the chance of exploited software.
    Disable WebRTC, This little nasty will show your real ip and mac numbers even when using a VPN. It is on by default in all browsers and an addon is required to disable it from your browser.
    Andriod users may want to run anti root kit software to identify any issues that may need repairing. As ios is what it is, there is nothing you can do but wait for security updates from apple over the coming few days. I assume from what I have read that security updates closing the exposed exploits will be forthcoming. However be very aware that this list will be by no means complete.
    As the list of items that are connected to the ‘internetofthings,” grows we will be exposed to so many exploits it will be impossible to address them all before they are exposed, an up to date operating system may be the only thing between you and a compromised system.

    I hope this helps at least a little, be safe.

  20. Smilin 20

    Where do the CIA get the right to do this shit
    Are we so devoid of any idea of what is just that any govt can do this without having to answer to the voter
    Just seeing that creep Groser in the footer of this article reminds me of the lengths that shit and Key went to to put themselves in the UN , rorting this nations coffers to get themselves their for what a fucking genocidal war worse than anything previous

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