James Bond should move over now, as international espionage has primarily moved on to the Internet. Unless Bond learns to code and becomes a super hacker, his reputable job with MI6 is pretty much over. The Internet has become an effective and cheap source for deriving all sorts of intelligence. With Edward Snowden’s disclosure of NSA and CIA tappings against the public, it has become clear that Internet espionage is highly misunderstood.
Law of the Jungle
One rule that takes precedence over all other rules is that ‘Might is Right’. Whichever agency has the most power is able to mold the Internet to the way they like and dictates the terms on how espionage is performed throughout the world. In this case, it’s the CIA, NSA, and any other American security agency out there. Sure China is being blamed for much of the hacking into the world’s computer systems, but no one snoops in on private and public information as much as the big A. In 2011, the Arab spring resulted in a shutdown of the Internet in the Middle Eastern countries by the local governments. In response to this authoritarian move, the United States implemented intelligence services that would turn the Internet back on. The justification for this was that revolutions should occur organically, without impediment.
Ironically, in the same year the United States passed laws that would allow the US government to shutdown their own Internet if they so chose to. These acts demonstrate a level of power that is influential in determining how much of a capacity an agency has to perform spying rituals on others. Taken from Snowden himself, the government has used this power to amass spying techniques against its own citizens.
Server Data and Secret Agencies
I was once talked to a CEO of a large software company that ran processing orders for some of North America’s largest retailers. He told me that in his own company there were areas he, as a CEO an founder, could not enter because of national security restrictions. The FBI had access to all of his company’s data and they had sectioned off places in the data centers that were restricted to others employed in the company, including the CEO himself. Access to data, whether private or public, is being regulated not by the companies that own it, but rather by national security agencies.
As the cloud becomes larger and larger, so does the need for processing data to weed out “terrorism” and its like. What many don’t know and understand is that uploading their personal information, whether it be photos, documents, or videos, allows security agencies to track and analyze trends in the public. That’s where Edward Snowden’s disclosure becomes very important. The reason for spying on the public is more to do with maintaining power structures than rooting out terrorism. Terrorism is used as an excuse to take many of our civil liberties away and, frankly, most people would give up their civil rights for “security”.
Social Media in the Eye
The spying eye is also embedded in the social media outlets we know such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Social media is an excellent tool not only for marketers but security agencies as well. With social media outlets the government can track trends in activism as well as public ideology to better cater to maintaining a sense of law and order.
In conclusion, I would urge everyone to do a little more research by themselves and view this video to get an indication of how modern day espionage is done: