"Terrorists Love Gmail" and Other Digital Defamations
By Elizabeth Leafloor | Red Ice Creations
Terrorists Love Gmail!
Not the best marketing slogan for Google, but one that former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden doesn’t mind using.
Hadyen was reported to have made the provocative comments in a speech in Washington:
“Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide," he said, presumably meaning Google’s Web-based email service.
He added: "I don’t think you’re going to see that in a Google commercial, but it’s free, it’s ubiquitous, so of course it is."
But is it really ’terrorists’ in Gmail that the average user should be worried about?
Facebook and Yahoo CEO’s recently let the cat out of the bag regarding consequences should they have spoken out about intelligence involvement in their business - "Yahoo , Facebook CEOs: We faced jail if we revealed NSA surveillance secrets "
In June, Motherboard’s Brian Merchant penned the piece: "Sorry, NSA, Terrorists Don’t Use Verizon. Or Skype. Or Gmail." and punched holes in the scaremongering by government and intelligence agencies:
Even though the still-growing surveillance state that sprung up in the wake of 9/11 was enacted almost entirely to "fight terrorism," reports show that the modes of communication that agencies like the NSA are targeting are scarcely used by terrorists at all.
A recent Bloomberg piece points to a 2012 report on terrorism which found that most serious terrorists steer clear of the most obvious platforms—major cell networks, Google, Skype, Facebook, etc.
Or, as Bloomberg more bluntly puts it, the "infrastructure set up by the National Security Agency ... may only be good for gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists. The Prism surveillance program focuses on access to the servers of America’s largest Internet companies, which support such popular services as Skype, Gmail and iCloud. These are not the services that truly dangerous elements typically use."
And why would they? Post-911 warrantless wiretapping practices are well known, NSA-style data collection was well-rumored, and we all knew the Department of Homeland Security was already scanning emails for red-flag keywords. Of course terrorists would take precautions. Bloomberg elaborates:
In a January 2012 report titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service drew a convincing picture of an Islamist Web underground centered around “core forums.” These websites are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the multitude of online resources not indexed by commonly used search engines.
In 2010, Google estimated that it had indexed just 0.004% of the internet—meaning the vast majority of the web is open for surreptitious message-sending business. Terrorists simply aren’t dumb enough to discuss their secret plans over Skype or to email each other confidential information on Gmail.
Even if terrorists DID haunt services like Gmail or Skype - why wouldn’t the NSA simply continue to gather intel through the system like they’ve already been doing, rather than tip off these dangerous people and chase them underground where they cannot as easily be tracked?
I guess we’ll figure that out when we figure out why Osama bin Laden was shot in the head* and not taken alive so as to be interrogated. (*allegedly)
We can presume that intelligence agencies have had their eyes and ears inside Gmail for some time now:
In a stunning admission contained in a brief filed recently in federal court, lawyers for Google said people should not expect privacy when they send messages to a Gmail account.
Consumer Watchdog said that people who care about their email correspondents’ privacy should not use the Internet giant’s service.
Google’s brief said: "Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient’s [email provider] in the course of delivery. Indeed, ’a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties."
But now that the supposed ’terrorists’ have been tipped off by Hayden, the NSA and CIA are now just watching the rest of us - which was the case all along.
This surveillance has become so ubiquitous that governments (here, and here) are starting to ban the use of Gmail and Facebook by civil servants and politicians for any official business. It’s not ’terrorists’ they’re worried about, either.
In the end, the NSA and CIA get more out of Gmail and it’s users than less, so why is Hayden lighting fires under the world’s largest web-based email provider and associating its users with terror plots?
It seems like the ones who are consistently making use of Gmail and Skype - and ’hate our freedom’ - are the intelligence agencies!
By Elizabeth Leafloor , Red Ice Creations
NSA taps Skype chats, newly published leaks confirm
Project Chess: Skype’s secret program aimed at making calls readily available to intelligence agencies
U.S. Government Also Spying On Corporations
Privacy Scandal: NSA Can Spy on Smart Phone Data
Governments Spy On Their Citizens for Control and Power
Latest News from our Front Page
Anti-Semitic fliers left on Chevy Chase driveways
Five streets in Chevy Chase, Md., were papered with anti-Semitic fliers on Wednesday morning.
Montgomery County police are looking for the person or people who left the hate-filled leaflets on almost every driveway on the streets.
â€śThis is very disturbing. My community is definitely disturbed,â€ť said Jean Sperling, the village manager of Martinâ€™s Additions, the community where the fliers were found. Sperling ...
German court says ex-SS officer unfit for trial
Prosecutors in the northern German city of Hamburg have dropped their probe into a 93-year-old former Nazi SS officer. Gerhard Sommer, who suffers from dementia, allegedly took part in a World War II massacre in Italy.
Gerhard Sommer, a former company commander of a mechanized infantry division, had been accused of participating in the mass murder of 560 civilians by Nazi ...
The Age of Disinformation
I have been a professional meteorologist for 36 years. Since my debut on television in 1979, I have been an eyewitness to the many changes in technology, society, and how we communicate. I am one who embraces change, and celebrates the higher quality of life we enjoy now thanks to this progress.
But, at the same time, I realize the instant ...
US Special Forces are Experimenting with Bug Drones
As intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance needs grow, devices are shrinking.
If you hear this tiny flying bug drone buzzing around your head, an Army Special Forces team might not be far behind. The 18-gram PD-100 Black Hornet from Norway's Prox Dynamics can bear regular and thermal cameras about a kilometer and stay aloft more than 25 minutes.
At the recent National Defense ...
Wrongfully treating academic debate as anti-Semitism
The principle of academic freedom at our universities is under attack by those seeking to shield Israel from criticism by silencing dissent, shutting down discussion and imposing a stifling atmosphere of intimidation at the University of California, in particular.
A coordinated set of petitions, including a letter signed by 57 rabbis, asks UC administrators to adopt the State Department's definition of ...
|More News » |