The state of state surveillance

The state of state surveillance

Most know by now that all major world powers spy on their civilians, especially considering the aftermath of Nine Eleven. The introduction of mass surveillance programs after the PATRIOT act was signed included for example PRISM (an internet data and communications retrieval act for the NSA). This act was further extended in 2011, but we never knew the extent of these programs until the Snowden leak. The same concept as just previously mentioned occurred with the alleged Russian sponsored hack on the DNC.

We have always known about State to State spying; it’s the classic spying type and all the spy movies and books are heavily focused on this. We know little though about the dealings of MI6 and the CIA and even less about Russian surveillance programs.

The book 1984 predicted a future where the government could follow every single step of the citizens. "Big Brother", as the government was called in the book, is now a symbol for the surveillance state.

The book 1984 predicted a future where the government could follow every single step of the citizens. "Big Brother", as the government was called in the book, is now a symbol for the surveillance state.

Russian sponsored hacking was assumed to be behind the DNC hack and leak. It is true that this is not the first time the Russian government has performed political sabotage or politically tied cyberattacks. With multiple Denial of Service attacks on neighbouring nations, mostly due to their poor histories of cooperation with Russia in the late 2000s like Azerbaijan and Georgia. Adding to this are the multiple hackings and intentional destruction of Ukrainian Government departments and private energy and telecom companies in 2014. These hackings are direct reactions from the Russian government, probably due to the lack of support from foreign nations. The goal is to threaten and destroy any resistance, which is clearly shown with Russia and Georgia having a war at the time and Ukraine going through a revolution with the revolutionaries having large anti-Russian sentiments and a distaste towards the link between Russia and their president.

Edward Snowden, former CIA employee, and computer professional, revealed several global surveillance programs.

Edward Snowden, former CIA employee, and computer professional, revealed several global surveillance programs.

Russia has brought light to this situation with recent mischief and has presented real problems with its international affairs, but in my eyes they cannot be credited with the biggest, most recent international relations meltdown. That title and award must go to none other than the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; the perfect dictatorship with a nuclear arsenal and no problem punching up. Add to that a history of cyber warfare aimed at its good friend to the south, there is no chance a country like North Korea will not stir the international pot with political instability using cyber sabotage and spying to gain allies and cripple enemies.

While I believe Russia is planting the seed of cyberwarfare for nations like North Korea to harvest from, the idea of conflict using solely cyberwarfare on its own is far in the future but will analysed and speculated on in part two of this article.

Finn Mott

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