US spooks, who have been dubbed “Big Brother” for their worldwide surveillance programme think that the title belongs to Apple.
Following up its exposé about the NSA’s ability to hack into individual smartphones and decrypt their contents, Der Spiegel published a new story about NSA spying on smartphones which features the spook’s Powerpoint presentation.
One slide calls iPhone users “zombies” who pay for the services that enable the NSA to track physical locations.
Another slide calls deceased Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs “Big Brother”. This because Apple is already collecting a shedload of geolocation data which the NSA can hack.
The first slide in the series alludes to George Orwell’s 1984, which is ironic because Apple became famous with its 1984 advert where it promised to set users free.
Of course the Tame Apple Press is furious claimed it showed a “profound disrespect” for “we” users. Given that “we” are not stupid enough to buy an iPhone “we” would say that the NSA is showing a profound disrespect for those who pay for the pleasure of being spied on. It is disrespect that people outside the Apple reality distortion field all share.
The Washington Post has poured cold water on the idea that ordinary people have nothing to fear from NSA snooping.
After a four month investigation it turns out that ordinary internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from US digital networks.
Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.
Nearly half of the surveillance files, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to US citizens or residents.
The reason for this is because to be effective the spooks have to track alias accounts. Months of tracking communications across more than 50 alias accounts, the files show, led directly to the 2011 capture in Abbottabad of Muhammad Tahir Shahzad, a Pakistan-based bomb builder, and Umar Patek, a suspect in a 2002 terrorist bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali.
But a huge chunk of useless files have been retained. This include what the Post calls “stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes “.
The daily lives of more than 10,000 people who were not targeted, not connected to any terrorist activity are catalogued and recorded.
The sweep is huge. If a real target entered an online chat room, the NSA collected the words and identities of every person who posted there, as well as every person who simply “lurked.”