IS GOOGLE MANIPULATING ITS ALGORITHM TO PRIORITIZE LEFT-LEANING NEWS OUTLETS IN THEIR COVERAGE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP?
Former Google employee accuses tech giant of bias. This is how Google is spying on everything you do. Google Fires Republican Engineer Who Exposed Alleged Bias Against Conservatives. Former Google engineer Kevin Cernekee explains how Google can potentially manipulate the electoral process and addresses the bias within the tech giant.
Is Google manipulating its algorithm to prioritize left-leaning news outlets in their coverage of President Trump?
It sure looks that way based on recent search results for news on the president. Google is spying on everything you. Literally everything. If you are not protecting yourself, Google is after your personal life whether you like it or it. Google spies on you and it’s not just a conspiracy theory anymore. Leaked video shows Google’s top brass ‘upset’ over Trump 2016 win of Trump. Facebook Censors Conservatives Articles, Saying They ‘Look Like Spam’ To test the premise, I performed a Google search for “Trump” using the search engine’s “News” tab and analyzed the results using Sharyl Attkisson’s media bias chart.
By Project Veritas
(New York City) — Project Veritas has released a new report on Google which includes undercover video of a Senior Google Executive, leaked documents, and testimony from a Google insider. The report appears to show Google’s plans to affect the outcome of the 2020 elections and “prevent” the next “Trump situation.”
What the hell is going on right now at Google? They literally don’t care about small creators and I know why so I sat down with Mr. Reagan to talk about the seriousness of how big tech companies have taken over Youtube from independent creators to try to salvage their dying businesses.
Fakebook reportedly monitors the offline behavior of its users to determine if they should be categorized as a “Hate Agent.”
ALLUM BOKHARI 13 Jun 2019
Facebook reportedly monitors the offline behavior of its users to determine if they should be categorized as a “Hate Agent,” according to a document provided exclusively to Breitbart News by a source within the social media giant.
Facebook may categorize you as a “hate agent” if you
praise the wrong person
interview the wrong person
appear at events with the wrong person
Facebook now has a document entitled the “Hate Agent Policy Review” which will be used to determine if some people will be labeled as a “hate agent” and ultimately be banned from using their platform.
“Imagine this for a second: One man, with total control of billions of people’s stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures,” “I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data, controls the future.”
Zuckerberg’s likeness says in the video, whose caption includes “#deepfake”.
Facebook may also categorize you as a hate agent if you self-identify with or advocate for a “Designated Hateful Ideology,” if you associate with a “Designated Hate Entity” (one of the examples cited by Facebook as a “hate entity” includes Islam critic Tommy Robinson), or if you have “tattoos of hate symbols or hate slogans.” (The document cites no examples of these, but the media and “anti-racism” advocacy groups increasingly label innocuous items as “hate symbols,” including a cartoon frog and the “OK” hand sign.)
Facebook will also categorize you as a hate agent for possession of “hate paraphernalia,” although the document provides no examples of what falls into this category.
The document also says Facebook will categorize you as a hate agent for “statements made in private but later made public.” Of course, Facebook holds vast amounts of information on what you say in public and in private — and as we saw with the Daily Beast doxing story, the platform will publicize private information on their users to assist the media in hitjobs on regular American citizens.
Federal Grand Jury Returns Superseding Indictment against Five Amalia, New Mexico Compound Defendants
Defendants Charged with Conspiring to Provide Material Support in Preparation for Attacks on Federal Officials and Other Offenses
A federal grand jury sitting in Albuquerque, New Mexico returned a superseding indictment on March 13 charging Jany Leveille, 36, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, Subhanah Wahhaj, 36, and Lucas Morton, 41, with federal offenses related to terrorism, kidnapping and firearms violations. The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the National Security Division, U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson for the District of New Mexico, Assistant Director Michael McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and Special Agent in Charge James Langenberg of the FBI’s Albuquerque Field Office.
These defendants were previously charged by indictment on Sept. 11, 2018, with a conspiracy relating to the possession of firearms and ammunition by an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States. The original indictment also charged Leveille with possessing firearms and ammunition as an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States.
The superseding indictment charges all of the defendants with participating in a conspiracy from October 2017 to August 2018 to provide material support and resources, including currency, training, weapons, and personnel, knowing and intending that they were to be used in preparation for and in carrying out attacks to kill officers and employees of the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339A.
“The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to provide material support in preparation for violent attacks against federal law enforcement officers and members of the military,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Advancing beliefs through terror and violence has no place in America, and the National Security Division continues to make protecting against terrorism its top priority.”
“The superseding indictment alleges a conspiracy to stage deadly attacks on American soil,” said U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson. “These allegations remind us of the dangers of terrorism that continue to confront our nation, and the allegation concerning the death of a young child only underscores the importance of prompt and effective intervention by law enforcement. I commend the FBI, DHS, ATF, Taos County Sheriff’s Office, and the Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office for their ongoing diligence and outstanding work in identifying and disabling imminent threats of targeted violence. ”
“The defendants in this case allegedly were preparing for deadly attacks and their targets included law enforcement and military personnel, the very people who are committed to protecting all of us,” said Assistant Director McGarrity. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to uncover and put a stop to acts of terrorism.”
“During this lengthy and complex investigation, the safety of the community as well as that of the children at the Amalia compound has been our priority,” said Special Agent in Charge Langenberg. “Cases such as these sometimes take a while, but the FBI will never give up until justice is done.”
As alleged in the superseding indictment, these defendants conspired to provide material support in preparation for violent attacks against officers and employees of the United States. According to the superseding indictment, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj gathered firearms and ammunition, and all of the defendants transported people, firearms, and ammunition across state lines and constructed a training compound where they stored firearms and ammunition. The superseding indictment further alleges that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Morton constructed and maintained a firing range at the compound where they engaged in firearms and tactical training for other compound occupants, and that Leveille and Morton attempted to recruit others to their cause.
The superseding indictment also charges Leveille, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and Morton with conspiring to attack and kill officers and employees of the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1117. It was a part and an object of the conspiracy that the defendants would kill officers and employees of the United States, specifically, Federal Bureau of Investigation employees, government officials, and military personnel.
The superseding indictment also charges Leveille, Hujrah Wahhaj, Subhanah Wahhaj, and Morton with kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. According to the superseding indictment, they kidnapped a child under the age of eighteen in Georgia and transported the child to New Mexico, where they concealed and held the child, resulting in the child’s death.
The superseding indictment also includes the charges from the original indictment. All of the defendants are currently in custody awaiting trial.
Indictments are only accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
The Albuquerque Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case, with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office, and the Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys George C. Kraehe and Kimberly A. Brawley and Trial Attorneys Troy A. Edwards, Jr. and David Cora of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
WASHINGTON — Jake Williams awoke last April in an Orlando, Fla., hotel where he was leading a training session. Checking Twitter, Mr. Williams, a cyber security expert, was dismayed to discover that he had been thrust into the middle of one of the worst security debacles ever to befall American intelligence.
Mr. Williams had written on his company blog about the Shadow Brokers, a mysterious group that had somehow obtained many of the hacking tools the United States used to spy on other countries. Now the group had replied in an angry screed on Twitter. It identified him — correctly — as a former member of the National Security Agency’s hacking group, Tailored Access Operations, or T.A.O., a job he had not publicly disclosed. Then the Shadow Brokers astonished him by dropping technical details that made clear they knew about highly classified hacking operations that he had conducted.
America’s largest and most secretive intelligence agency had been deeply infiltrated.
“They had operational insight that even most of my fellow operators at T.A.O. did not have,” said Mr. Williams, now with Rendition Infosec, a cyber security firm he founded. “I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut. Whoever wrote this either was a well-placed insider or had stolen a lot of operational data.”
The jolt to Mr. Williams from the Shadow Brokers’ riposte was part of a much broader earthquake that has shaken the N.S.A. to its core. Current and former agency officials say the Shadow Brokers disclosures, which began in August 2016, have been catastrophic for the N.S.A., calling into question its ability to protect potent cyberweapons and its very value to national security. The agency regarded as the world’s leader in breaking into adversaries’ computer networks failed to protect its own.
“These leaks have been incredibly damaging to our intelligence and cyber capabilities,” said Leon E. Panetta, the former defense secretary and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. “The fundamental purpose of intelligence is to be able to effectively penetrate our adversaries in order to gather vital intelligence. By its very nature, that only works if secrecy is maintained and our codes are protected.”
With a leak of intelligence methods like the N.S.A. tools, Mr. Panetta said, “Every time it happens, you essentially have to start over.”
Fifteen months into a wide-ranging investigation by the agency’s counterintelligence arm, known as Q Group, and the F.B.I., officials still do not know whether the N.S.A. is the victim of a brilliantly executed hack, with Russia as the most likely perpetrator, an insider’s leak, or both. Three employees have been arrested since 2015 for taking classified files, but there is fear that one or more leakers may still be in place. And there is broad agreement that the damage from the Shadow Brokers already far exceeds the harm to American intelligence done by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who fled with four laptops of classified material in 2013.
Mr. Snowden’s cascade of disclosures to journalists and his defiant public stance drew far more media coverage than this new breach. But Mr. Snowden released code words, while the Shadow Brokers have released the actual code; if he shared what might be described as battle plans, they have loosed the weapons themselves. Created at huge expense to American taxpayers, those cyber weapons have now been picked up by hackers from North Korea to Russia and shot back at the United States and its allies.
A screenshot taken as ransomware affected systems worldwide last summer. The Ukrainian government posted the picture to its official Facebook page.
Millions of people saw their computers shut down by ransomware, with demands for payments in digital currency to have their access restored. Tens of thousands of employees at Mondelez International, the maker of Oreo cookies, had their data completely wiped. FedEx reported that an attack on a European subsidiary had halted deliveries and cost $300 million. Hospitals in Pennsylvania, Britain and Indonesia had to turn away patients. The attacks disrupted production at a car plant in France, an oil company in Brazil and a chocolate factory in Tasmania, among thousands of enterprises affected worldwide.
American officials had to explain to close allies — and to business leaders in the United States — how cyberweapons developed at Fort Meade in Maryland came to be used against them. Experts believe more attacks using the stolen N.S.A. tools are all but certain.
Inside the agency’s Maryland headquarters and its campuses around the country, N.S.A. employees have been subjected to polygraphs and suspended from their jobs in a hunt for turncoats allied with the Shadow Brokers. Much of the agency’s arsenal is still being replaced, curtailing operations. Morale has plunged, and experienced specialists are leaving the agency for better-paying jobs — including with firms defending computer networks from intrusions that use the N.S.A.’s leaked tools.
“It’s a disaster on multiple levels,” Mr. Williams said. “It’s embarrassing that the people responsible for this have not been brought to justice.”
In response to detailed questions, an N.S.A. spokesman, Michael T. Halbig, said the agency “cannot comment on Shadow Brokers.” He denied that the episode had hurt morale. “N.S.A. continues to be viewed as a great place to work; we receive more than 140,000 applications each year for our hiring program,” he said.
Compounding the pain for the N.S.A. is the attackers’ regular online public taunts, written in ersatz broken English. Their posts are a peculiar mash-up of immaturity and sophistication, laced with profane jokes but also savvy cultural and political references. They suggest that their author — if not an American — knows the United States well.
“Is NSA chasing shadows?” the Shadow Brokers asked in a post onOct. 16, mocking the agency’s inability to understand the leaks and announcing a price cut for subscriptions to its “monthly dump service” of stolen N.S.A. tools. It was a typically wide-ranging screed, touching on George Orwell’s “1984”; the end of the federal government’s fiscal year on Sept. 30; Russia’s creation of bogus accounts on Facebook and Twitter; and the phenomenon of American intelligence officers going to work for contractors who pay higher salaries.The Shadow Brokers have mocked the N.S.A. in regular online posts and released its stolen hacking tools in a “monthly dump service.”
One passage, possibly hinting at the Shadow Brokers’ identity, underscored the close relationship of Russian intelligence to criminal hackers. “Russian security peoples,” it said, “is becoming Russian hackeres at nights, but only full moons.”
Russia is the prime suspect in a parallel hemorrhage of hacking tools and secret documents from the C.I.A.’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, posted week after week since March to the WikiLeaks website under the names Vault7 and Vault8. That breach, too, is unsolved. Together, the flood of digital secrets from agencies that invest huge resources in preventing such breaches is raising profound questions.
Have hackers and leakers made secrecy obsolete? Has Russian intelligence simply outplayed the United States, penetrating the most closely guarded corners of its government? Can a work force of thousands of young, tech-savvy spies ever be immune to leaks?
Some veteran intelligence officials believe a lopsided focus on offensive weapons and hacking tools has, for years, left American cyberdefense dangerously porous.
“We have had a train wreck coming,” said Mike McConnell, the former N.S.A. director and national intelligence director. “We should have ratcheted up the defense parts significantly.”
America’s Cyber Special Forces
At the heart of the N.S.A. crisis is Tailored Access Operations, the group where Mr. Williams worked, which was absorbed last year into the agency’s new Directorate of Operations.The N.S.A.’s headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland. Cyber tools the agency developed have been picked up by hackers from North Korea to Russia and shot back at the United States and its allies. Credit Jim Lo Scalzo/European Press photo Agency
T.A.O. — the outdated name is still used informally — began years ago as a side project at the agency’s research and engineering building at Fort Meade. It was a cyber Skunk Works, akin to the special units that once built stealth aircraft and drones. As Washington’s need for hacking capabilities grew, T.A.O. expanded into a separate office park in Laurel, Md., with additional teams at facilities in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii and Texas.
The hacking unit attracts many of the agency’s young stars, who like the thrill of internet break-ins in the name of national security, according to a dozen former government officials who agreed to describe its work on the condition of anonymity. T.A.O. analysts start with a shopping list of desired information and likely sources — say, a Chinese official’s home computer or a Russian oil company’s network. Much of T.A.O.’s work is labeled E.C.I., for “exceptionally controlled information,” material so sensitive it was initially stored only in safes. When the cumulative weight of the safes threatened the integrity of N.S.A.’s engineering building a few years ago, one agency veteran said, the rules were changed to allow locked file cabinets.
The more experienced T.A.O. operators devise ways to break into foreign networks; junior operators take over to extract information. Mr. Williams, 40, a former paramedic who served in military intelligence in the Army before joining the N.S.A., worked in T.A.O. from 2008 to 2013, which he described as an especially long tenure. He called the work “challenging and sometimes exciting.”
T.A.O. operators must constantly renew their arsenal to stay abreast of changing software and hardware, examining every Windows update and new iPhone for vulnerabilities. “The nature of the business is to move with the technology,” a former T.A.O. hacker said.
Long known mainly as an eavesdropping agency, the N.S.A. has embraced hacking as an especially productive way to spy on foreign targets. The intelligence collection is often automated, with malware implants — computer code designed to find material of interest — left sitting on the targeted system for months or even years, sending files back to the N.S.A.
The same implant can be used for many purposes: to steal documents, tap into email, subtly change data or become the launching pad for an attack. T.A.O.’s most public success was an operation against Iran called Olympic Games, in which implants in the network of the Natanz nuclear plant caused centrifuges enriching uranium to self-destruct. The T.A.O. was also critical to attacks on the Islamic State and North Korea.
It was this arsenal that the Shadow Brokers got hold of, and then began to release.
Like cops studying a burglar’s operating style and stash of stolen goods, N.S.A. analysts have tried to figure out what the Shadow Brokers took. None of the leaked files date from later than 2013 — a relief to agency officials assessing the damage. But they include a large share of T.A.O.’s collection, including three so-called ops disks — T.A.O.’s term for tool kits — containing the software to bypass computer firewalls, penetrate Windows and break into the Linux systems most commonly used on Android phones.
Evidence shows that the Shadow Brokers obtained the entire tool kits intact, suggesting that an insider might have simply pocketed a thumb drive and walked out.
But other files obtained by the Shadow Brokers bore no relation to the ops disks and seem to have been grabbed at different times. Some were designed for a compromise by the N.S.A. of Swift, a global financial messaging system, allowing the agency to track bank transfers. There was a manual for an old system code-named UNITEDRAKE, used to attack Windows. There were PowerPoint presentations and other files not used in hacking, making it unlikely that the Shadow Brokers had simply grabbed tools left on the internet by sloppy N.S.A. hackers.After 15 months of investigation, officials still do not know what was behind the Shadow Brokers disclosures — a hack, with Russia as the most likely perpetrator, an insider’s leak, or both.
Some officials doubt that the Shadow Brokers got it all by hacking the most secure of American government agencies — hence the search for insiders. But some T.A.O. hackers think that skilled, persistent attackers might have been able to get through the N.S.A.’s defenses — because, as one put it, “I know we’ve done it to other countries.”
The Shadow Brokers have verbally attacked certain experts, including Mr. Williams. When he concluded from their Twitter hints that they knew about some of his hacks while at the N.S.A., he canceled a business trip to Singapore. The United States had named and criminally charged hackers from the intelligence agencies of China, Iran and Russia. He feared he could be similarly charged by a country he had targeted and arrested on an international warrant.
He has since resumed traveling abroad. But he says no one from the N.S.A. has contacted him about being singled out publicly by the Shadow Brokers.
“That feels like a betrayal,” he said. “I was targeted by the Shadow Brokers because of that work. I do not feel the government has my back.”
The Hunt for an Insider
For decades after its creation in 1952, the N.S.A. — No Such Agency, in the old joke — was seen as all but leakproof. But since Mr. Snowden flew away with hundreds of thousands of documents in 2013, that notion has been shattered.
The Snowden trauma led to the investment of millions of dollars in new technology and tougher rules to counter what the government calls the insider threat. But N.S.A. employees say that with thousands of employees pouring in and out of the gates, and the ability to store a library’s worth of data in a device that can fit on a key ring, it is impossible to prevent people from walking out with secrets.Harold T. Martin III, an N.S.A. contractor who was arrested last year when sensitive documents and storage devices were found in his home, garden shed and car. Credit Deborah Shaw
Mr. Martin’s gargantuan collection of stolen files included much of what the Shadow Brokers have, and he has been scrutinized by investigators as a possible source for them. Officials say they do not believe he deliberately supplied the material, though they have examined whether he might have been targeted by thieves or hackers.
But according to former N.S.A. employees who are still in touch with active workers, investigators of the Shadow Brokers thefts are clearly worried that one or more leakers may still be inside the agency. Some T.A.O. employees have been asked to turn over their passports, take time off their jobs and submit to questioning. The small number of specialists who have worked both at T.A.O. and at the C.I.A. have come in for particular attention, out of concern that a single leaker might be responsible for both the Shadow Brokers and the C.I.A.’s Vault7 breaches.
Then there are the Shadow Brokers’ writings, which betray a seeming immersion in American culture. Last April, about the time Mr. Williams was discovering their inside knowledge of T.A.O. operations, the Shadow Brokers posted an appeal to President Trump: “Don’t Forget Your Base.” With the ease of a seasoned pundit, they tossed around details about Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s now departed adviser; the Freedom Caucus in Congress; the “deep state”; the Alien and Sedition Acts; and white privilege.
“The Shadow Brokers is wanting to see you succeed,” the post said, addressing Mr. Trump. “The Shadow Brokers is wanting America to be great again.”
The mole hunt is inevitably creating an atmosphere of suspicion and anxiety, former employees say. While the attraction of the N.S.A. for skilled operators is unique — nowhere else can they hack without getting into legal trouble — the boom in cybersecurity hiring by private companies gives T.A.O. veterans lucrative exit options.
Young T.A.O. hackers are lucky to make $80,000 a year, while those who leave routinely find jobs paying well over $100,000, security specialists say. For many workers, the appeal of the N.S.A’s mission has been more than enough to make up the difference. But over the past year, former T.A.O. employees say an increasing number of former colleagues have called them looking for private-sector work, including “graybeards” they thought would be N.S.A. lifers.
“Snowden killed morale,” another T.A.O. analyst said. “But at least we knew who he was. Now you have a situation where the agency is questioning people who have been 100 percent mission-oriented, telling them they’re liars.”
Because the N.S.A. hacking unit has grown so rapidly over the past decade, the pool of potential leakers has expanded into the hundreds. Trust has eroded as anyone who had access to the leaked code is regarded as the potential culprit.
Some agency veterans have seen projects they worked on for a decade shut down because implants they relied on were dumped online by the Shadow Brokers. The number of new operations has declined because the malware tools must be rebuilt. And no end is in sight.
“How much longer are the releases going to come?” a former T.A.O. employee asked. “The agency doesn’t know how to stop it — or even what ‘it’ is.”
One N.S.A. official who almost saw his career ended by the Shadow Brokers is at the very top of the organization: Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the N.S.A. and commander of its sister military organization, United States Cyber Command. President Barack Obama’s director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., and defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, recommended removing Admiral Rogers from his post to create accountability for the breaches.
But Mr. Obama did not act on the advice, in part because Admiral Rogers’s agency was at the center of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump, who again on Saturday disputed his intelligence agencies’ findings on Russia and the election, extended the admiral’s time in office. Some former intelligence officials say they are flabbergasted that he has been able to hold on to his job.
A Shadow War With Russia?
Lurking in the background of the Shadow Brokers investigation is American officials’ strong belief that it is a Russian operation. The pattern of dribbling out stolen documents over many months, they say, echoes the slow release of Democratic emails purloined by Russian hackers last year.
But there is a more specific back story to the United States-Russia rivalry.
Starting in 2014, American security researchers who had been tracking Russia’s state-sponsored hacking groups for years began to expose them in a series of research reports. American firms, including Symantec, Crowd Strike and Fire Eye, reported that Moscow was behind certain attacks and identified government-sponsored Russian hacking groups.The Moscow headquarters of Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cyber security firm that hunted for N.S.A. malware. Credit Kirill Kudryavtsev/Agence France-Press — Getty Images
In the meantime, Russia’s most prominent cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, had started work on a report that would turn the tables on the United States. Kaspersky hunted for the spying malware planted by N.S.A. hackers, guided in part by the keywords and code names in the files taken by Mr. Snowden and published by journalists, officials said.
Kaspersky was, in a sense, simply doing to the N.S.A. what the American companies had just done to Russian intelligence: expose their operations. And American officials believe Russian intelligence was piggybacking on Kaspersky’s efforts to find and retrieve the N.S.A.’s secrets wherever they could be found. The T.A.O. hackers knew that when Kaspersky updated its popular antivirus software to find and block the N.S.A. malware, it could thwart spying operations around the world.
So T.A.O. personnel rushed to replace implants in many countries with new malware they did not believe the Russian company could detect.
In February 2015, Kaspersky published its report on the Equation Group — the company’s name for T.A.O. hackers — and updated its antivirus software to uproot the N.S.A. malware wherever it had not been replaced. The agency temporarily lost access to a considerable flow of intelligence. By some accounts, however, N.S.A. officials were relieved that the Kaspersky report did not include certain tools they feared the Russian company had found.
As it would turn out, any celebration was premature.
On Aug. 13 last year, a new Twitter account using the Shadow Brokers’ name announced with fanfare an online auction of stolen N.S.A. hacking tools.
“We hack Equation Group,” the Shadow Brokers wrote. “We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons.”
Inside the N.S.A., the declaration was like a bomb exploding. A zip file posted online contained the first free sample of the agency’s hacking tools. It was immediately evident that the Shadow Brokers were not hoaxsters, and that the agency was in trouble.
The leaks have renewed a debate over whether the N.S.A. should be permitted to stockpile vulnerabilities it discovers in commercial software to use for spying — rather than immediately alert software makers so the holes can be plugged. The agency claims it has shared with the industry more than 90 percent of flaws it has found, reserving only the most valuable for its own hackers. But if it can’t keep those from leaking, as the last year has demonstrated, the resulting damage to businesses and ordinary computer users around the world can be colossal. The Trump administration says it will soon announce revisions to the system, making it more transparent.
Mr. Williams said it may be years before the “full fallout” of the Shadow Brokers breach is understood. Even the arrest of whoever is responsible for the leaks may not end them, he said — because the sophisticated perpetrators may have built a “dead man’s switch” to release all remaining files automatically upon their arrest.
“We’re obviously dealing with people who have operational security knowledge,” he said. “They have the whole law enforcement system and intelligence system after them. And they haven’t been caught.”
A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 12, 2017, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Deep Security Breach Cripples N.S.A..
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday made a major proclamation that Facebook’s future will be in private communication. However, Zuckerberg has shown over his career that Facebook often fails to deliver on his promises.
Salvador Rodriguez | @sal19
Published 4:58 PM ET Thu, 7 March 2019 CNBC.com
Marlene Awaad | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., listens during the Viva Technology conference in Paris, France, on Thursday, May 24, 2018.
Zuckerberg’s new stance was delivered in a 3,000-word note titled “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking.” The note outlines the framework with which the company will integrate the private messaging features of its Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp apps, and it comes after a grueling 2018 in which the company was plagued by multiple scandals related to user privacy.
“I believe we should be working towards a world where people can speak privately and live freely knowing that their information will only be seen by who they want to see it and won’t all stick around forever,” Zuckerberg wrote.
It’s a nice vision, but if history is any indicator, there’s no reason to believe Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg has done his best to emulate Steve Jobs through his penmanship in notes like the one we saw this week or his showmanship on stage at events like the company’s annual F8 conference, yet his company’s actions rarely deliver on his words. And there are plenty of examples of this.
But it’s not just privacy issues. There are plenty of other examples where Zuckerberg has promised bold new products — like he did in his essay Wednesday — and failed to deliver.
The first time Zuckerberg hyped a Facebook announcement only to let everyone down over a long period of waiting was back in 2013. Zuckerberg got up before a crowd of journalists to announce “graph search.” This was supposed to be a new breakthrough in search engines. It was a search engine you could ask hyper-specific questions to and receive personalized results. You could ask it questions like “music listened to by my friends who listen to Beyonce” or “my friends who live in Houston” and get exactly what you asked for. That’s what Zuckerberg promised, but it never came to be. Just try to ask Facebook’s search these questions. Search has improved since this announcement, but the results are not what he promised.
Something similar happened later in 2013 when the company announced Facebook Home, a custom version of Android that would launch on the HTC First smartphone. Zuckerberg got on stage to announce both products to much fanfare. This was Facebook’s grand entry into the mobile market. Instead, the phone and the software were instant flops, and Facebook didn’t take long to abandon the project, with AT&T slashing the price of the HTC First from $99 to just 99 cents within weeks of its launch.
In more recent years, Zuckerberg’s words have rung hollow when it comes to his promises for improving the way people talk and connect on the service.
If you thought Zuckerberg’s note this week was long, just look at the mammoth manifesto he wrote in 2017. In that 6,000-word essay, Zuckerberg made multiple promises about improving Facebook after the company came under fire for its failure to address fake news ahead of the 2016 U.S. election. In that note, Zuckerberg made one particular promises that stands out.
He wrote about using artificial intelligence to keep Facebook a community free from bullying and harassment. This promise has failed on two counts. For starters, Facebook is still littered with issues of bullying and harassment, and it’s especially a problem for younger users on Instagram. Secondly, Facebook is not yet at a point where it can rely on AI to remove content that shouldn’t be allowed on the service. The company uses AI for much of its content moderation, but it still relies on thousands of low-paid contractors working in subpar conditions and exposing themselves to content that scars them, as Casey Newton of The Verge demonstrated in his excellent profile of Facebook’s content moderators.
And then there was Zuckerberg’s News Feed algorithm change of 2018. At the time, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would make “a major change” to how Facebook was built so that the company prioritized “meaningful social interactions” over “relevant content.” In layman’s terms, this meant showing users more content about their friends and less content from publishers. The change certainly had a major impact — just look at the recent layoffs at digital news outlets like Mic and BuzzFeed, two publishers whose business models had relied on traffic from Facebook. And yet, does it really feel like News Feed has improved or been filled with meaningful social interactions? Mine certainly hasn’t. One quick look at my feed and my top posts are a news article, an ad, a news article, a news article and some “friend” I can’t remember who changed his profile picture.
At least year’s F8 conference, Zuckerberg took the stage and promised the company would release a feature called Clear History that would give users more control over the data Facebook has on them. The feature was thought up just prior to F8, according to a BuzzFeed report, and nearly one year later, it has yet to be released. The company said recently that Clear History will arrive sometime in 2019, but no set date has been given.
This is why I don’t expect much from Zuckerberg’s latest promise. The note itself is laced with caveats that should temper expectations. For starters, Zuckerberg says this more private version of Facebook is a work in process that will take a few years to come to fruition. And Zuckerberg himself addresses doubt in his note.
I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform — because frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing. But we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories.
And although Facebook may be expanding its focus on private communication, the company has no plans to get rid of its existing public products like News Feed and Instagram, according to an interview Zuckerberg gave to Wired.
Asked in that interview what he will do to guarantee this privacy-focused vision is carried out, Zuckerberg sidestepped the question and gave no guarantees.
Here’s what he said:
You have no idea how hard it is. Yes, there’s a lot of work that goes into getting the teams aligned and getting the right leaders in place who believe in these priorities, and being able to execute on that. And even the process of writing something like this is really helpful, because you can talk about a lot of things in the abstract. But it’s not until you actually put it down on paper and say, “Yeah, here are the trade-offs. We’re going to focus on reducing the permanence of how much data we have around, and that’s going to make these things harder.”
Then you get all these teams inside the company that come out of the woodwork with all the issues that that’s going to cause for other things that we really care about. You know, whether that’s research that was surfaced about how much people care and value making a record of their lives over time, so making it so that more of the content would be archived automatically would be problematic for them, or different kinds of things.
But that whole process has been really helpful for figuring out and distilling the vision of where we want to get. And it basically got us to this point where we feel like we’re ready to put a flag in the ground and say,
“This is where we want to go.” This isn’t a product announcement, it’s a statement of the principles that we think are necessary to build this privacy-focused social platform.
But now I think we’re going to really start the harder process, over the next year or so, of flushing out what all these things mean as the aspects of this start to get rolled out in the different products.
Perhaps this will be the time Zuckerberg finally delivers on a promise, but don’t get your hopes up.