NSA and Britain get in Dutch
Feb 20, 2015
It seems that intelligence agencies believe they have the right to know everything, and Edward Snowden has just exposed this to the world. So while the US and Britain fight Russia with economic warfare, Russia fights back by removing the “mystery” from Mystery Babylon. In other words, they expose dirty secrets.
The Intercept reported in detail how the intelligence agencies hacked the emails and Facebook accounts of employees at a Dutch firm, Gemalto, that manufactures about 2 billion mobile phone SIM cards every year. By mining the employees’ communications, the agencies were able to gather information that helped them steal the “keys” used to encrypt those tiny cards, thus allowing the agencies to listen in on phone calls and read messages that users believed were kept disguised by powerful technology.
The joint NSA-GCHQ operation may have far-reaching foreign policy consequences. It was mounted against a company headquartered in The Netherlands, a stalwart European ally of the United States and Britain and NATO member country, and it allowed the spy agencies to bypass legal procedures for gathering communications of citizens in countries around the world. If the agencies could intercept the calls and decrypt them on their own, they had no need to request the assistance of foreign companies or governments.
That backdoor maneuver—while exactly the type of work that one expects of a secret intelligence outfit—may nevertheless further aggravate foreign relationships at a time when the United States is seen as a global spying hegemon that disregards the privacy of foreigners. And it comes just as the Obama administration is wrestling with European partners over what to do to stop Russian military aggression in Ukraine.
In 2013, revelations from the Snowden files caused a rift between America and some of its NATO allies—a rift that had largely healed. Those old wounds could be reopened by fresh revelations of massive, clandestine spying on friendly nations.
It’s probably not a good idea to hack into the files of computer companies. If you make the hackers angry, how many of them will want to hack back? This could cause a Hackers War.