The Spy Business Is Booming and We Should Be Worried: Spyware and hacking know-how are more available than ever, making our data more vulnerable and the world more dangerous.
Bill Priestap, The New York Times, July 20, 2019
What is going on? Russian spies are assassinating people in other countries, directing internet companies to troll our social media and trying to undermine our political process almost in plain sight.
At the same time, agents acting at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party are stealing our proprietary information and technology. North Korean spies have become New Age bank robbers, while Iranian spies have attempted to assassinate dissidents in Denmark and a Saudi diplomat in the United States. And the United Arab Emirates has hired former government hackers to spy on dissidents and civil rights activists.
The spy business is clearly booming.
But it is not just government spy agencies. We are also witnessing the democratization of spy tools and techniques that used to be the sole purview of a highly select group of intelligence services. . . .
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Private Surveillance Is a Lethal Weapon Anybody Can Buy: Is it too late to rein it in?
Sharon Weinberger, The New York Times, July 19, 2019
. . . One thing is clear: The private surveillance industry is growing. A firm that creates a catalog of these technologies, once named the “Little Black Book of Electronic Surveillance,” changed the name in 2016 to the “Big BlackBook.” It had doubled in size in its first three years. The 2017 edition includes 150 vendors.
The genesis of this global spy bazaar can be traced back to the frenetic weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when Congress rushed through the Patriot Act, a law that vastly expanded the American government’s wiretapping authorities. In the process, lawmakers inadvertently created a market for companies interested in providing services and technologies to collect and analyze the new trove of data. . . .
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