"Terrorists Love Gmail" and Other Digital Defamations
2013 09 19
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
If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would Anyone Notice?
2014 10 01
The subject enters a room in which a 12-year-old boy is seated. A 20-minute conversation ensues. The subject quizzes the boy about current events and other topics to get a sense of his intelligence and personality. But the boy is not what he appears to be.
Unbeknownst to the subject, the boy is wearing a radio receiver in his ear, and ...
Obama has had accurate intelligence about ISIS since BEFORE the 2012 election, says administration insider
2014 10 01
‘President Barack Obama’s intelligence briefings have provided him with specific information since before he won re-election in 2012 about the growing threat of the terror group now known alternatively as ISIS and ISIL, an administration insider told MailOnline on Monday.
‘Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate ...
Can holding a magnet against your head help defeat depression?
2014 10 01
Former GP Sue Mildred suffered from crippling depression and anxiety for 20 years.
On two occasions it was so severe that she ended up in hospital, and for 15 years she was unable to work.
Sue, 51, has tried antidepressants, talking therapies and, out of desperation, even ECT (electro-convulsive therapy), where an electric current is passed through the brain.
This did ...
Extremists to have Facebook and Twitter vetted by anti-terror police
2014 09 30
Theresa May to announce new Extremist Disruption Orders to strengthen counter-terrorism if the Tories win the next general election
Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives.
They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, ...
Scottish Independence: Protesters demand revote
2014 09 30
Pro-independence campaigners gathered outside the Scottish Parliament for the second day in a row, this time to demand a revote of the September 18 referendum.
While yesterday’s “Rally For A Revote” saw the return of Saltires and Yes banners to Holyrood, it did not match the turnout for the “Voice Of The People” rally held on Saturday, when up 3000 people ...
|More News » |