More Cyber espionage

Wikileaks recently released information about the ways the government collects information for (alleged) security purposes. The “Vault 7” papers are hardly surprising. Anyone who’s posted anything anywhere should be aware that there’s no erasing a digital footprint.

Yet I must admit that I find Wikileaks perplexing. I’m not thrilled by government surveillance. Nor do I like the way Wikileaks can destabilize our already precarious political environment. What do y’all think about Wikileaks and groups like it?

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31 Responses to More Cyber espionage

  1. Brianna Ladnier says:

    I support WikiLeads because it holds people responsible for their actions. I support Chelsea Manning and her actions because she exposed the Army for their wrongdoings, so they would be held accounted for their actions. No matter whether or not the person being exposed is someone I side with politcally, if information is shared that that person is doing something wrong, I will hold them accountable for it, and I will not try and justify their actions. Currently, whenever WikiLeaks have something on Donald Trump, all his supporters scream in agony and ask for them to not be released because it is the wrong thing to do. However, whenever WikiLeaks has something against Hillary Clinton, it was celebrated for, the best quote I’ve heard from my father, “Showing the world what a real crook the woman is.” You are either against or for WikiLeaks. You should not pick and choose depending on whether or not it is good for your political agenda.

  2. Jackson Sparkman says:

    We already knew this. As Americans, we know that our government surveils us. WikiLeaks sings the same song over and over. The same thing with the leaked Clinton emails, we knew that campaigns are run like that (who doesn’t love West Wing or House of Cards). We accept these things about our government, and most of us apparently don’t care. Just because WikiLeaks posts it doesn’t mean it’s news.

  3. Deven Martin says:

    WikiLeaks has always said that information should not be private, that because of the nature of the way we interact with the world nothing can or should be private.

    The information that WikiLeaks shares is never someone’s personal information, they don’t post the usernames and passwords of all those who use Facebook. They release information that affects the lives of Americans as a whole. Why shouldn’t this information be available to the public? Is it not the duty of the government to let the people know what they are doing to “make us safer?” I would argue that WikiLeaks is doing what the government should be.

    Information that is shared online and through digital means can’t be private. Anyone who’s ever looked up an ex online knows that you can find out anything if you try hard enough. Why is this different when it comes to government surveillance? The government has been doing it for years, but now with the passage of the bill that allows ISP(internet service providers) to sell your information the job of collecting information on US citizens has been made easier. But is this a bad thing?

    I think people take the issue a little too deep, which is to say that while the idea of the government having all the information you’ve ever shared through digital can be disconcerting. But what people don’t seem to understand is that there isn’t some warehouse somewhere with 300 million monitors with live feeds of your house and a sidebar with all the things you post online constantly scrolling. When data is collected by the government, it will go onto a server in some remote location that a handful of people can access. This information will be used to identify those that pose a threat to American society and this will be done by some coder who writes a script or a neural network to sort through all the information collected in search of people that show signs of being a threat. What’s wrong with this? I would argue nothing. The NSA, CIA and others don’t care about your pirating of music, they don’t care if you’ve been cheating on your wife. These are petty things to them and they will gladly glance over these small transgressions.

    Okay, I’m way off track, I must apologize for that. Let’s move on the destabilizing of our government by WikiLeaks.

    It’s definitely not a lie that the recent releases by WikiLeaks have thrown are government into criticism by the public and by those all over the world. But isn’t this the norm? The United States constantly has the eyes of the world on it and now even more so with our commander-in-chief being, well, our commander-in-chief. Political turmoil may be a bit of an understatement as a description of our current state of government and WikiLeaks has not helped at all. But you could almost say Trump had it coming. WikiLeaks did a lot to throw Hilary Clinton into skepticism during her campaign and it could probably be argued that the evidence released by WikiLeaks was instrumental in Trumps win. Trump loved WikiLeaks during the campaign, often tweeting about them to tease Clinton. A tweet on November 4th of last year read “Boy, I love reading these WikiLeaks!” But now that the election is over Trump keeps condemning WikiLeaks for the work they do. On February 17 he tweeted “The spotlight was finally been put on these low-life leakers!”

    Recently, Russia was proved to have had involvement in the election and has thrown the US government into the world’s spotlight. But still the eyes of those that supported Trump will stand behind him, I think this is the beauty of WikiLeaks. They release the truth behind the words that people rally behind, they show the people what is really happening, the undisputed truth. Because of this, citizens can really see what’s going on and they can really see who they are supporting, this is important. We, as citizens, are supposed to be able to trust our government and how can we do that if we don’t know what’s actually going on? I would argue that WikiLeaks performs a service, they give citizens the clarity of the government that they deserve.

    Wow, this ended up being way more long-winded than I meant for it to be and I’ll admit that I took a devil’s advocate position at some points, but I thank you for reading till this point and I apologise for any contradictions and grammatical errors I may have made, this was written over the course of an entire day, in between classes.

    Have a good day everyone.

  4. Devon Matheny says:

    I think that privacy is privacy, no matter what the circumstances are. Things/people/organizations that go against someone’s personal (supposedly guaranteed) privacy is not something that should be looked at with glory. However, I think people should understand that although a person/organization/website etc. may provide “privacy,” more times than not, that privacy is not 100% guaranteed. Of course, like everything, there are two sides to everything.

  5. Harlynn Robinson says:

    I support Wikileaks and similar organizations because it holds people accountable for their stupidity and crime. Only a guilty man looks over his shoulder. My privacy being disrupted doesn’t bother me all that much because I have always been aware of the fact that the government monitors such things. And since I was always aware of that fact I haven’t done anything incriminating on the internet. We have all gotten so used to the crazy man on the corner screaming that they are watching us that, unless we are actively involved in crime, it shouldn’t phase us very much anymore.

  6. Meagan Pittman says:

    I am a firm believer that (almost) everything the government does should be described to the public. We elect government officials with (often weak) faith. When the government steps over their boundaries, we who gave them their jobs ought to know the details. Whether Wikileaks provides information and documents in your favor or against your favor, it is their mission to provide the unbiased truth that the media often covers up. Although it is wrong, the government has been watching us for many years, this should surprise nobody.

  7. Kamal Bhalla says:

    Oh Wikileaks….they release all this “secret” stuff that really shouldn’t be secret at all which is good…to an extent. I mean they should give out this information, but I think that there should be a limit. While I do agree that the government should be giving the information that Wikileaks is, but I mean the government is our government for a reason. (Not saying that I support Trump or anything) But Wikileaks altogether should just calm down and keep doing its “job.”

  8. Steven says:

    Groups such as WikiLeaks deserve only praise. Any other viewpoint that contains criticism can only be from parties that are ignorant or parties that do the bidding of corruption. Any other viewpoint simply does nothing to restore justice to the world. Those who criticize them fail to forget the ultimate duty and purpose of an established federal government: to fulfill the needs of their people and do what is necessary to protect them. Transparency should be a given if you are to take on the role of a PUBLIC citizen. Too much corruption is flooding the swamp that is Washington, and the corporate media does nothing to advance the more importance cause. Perhaps if Hillary didn’t make arms deals with the Saudi Arabia or contacted DNC officials to rig primaries against Bernie, the email leak wouldn’t really matter. This might be a “radical” belief, but I think citizens should know what their elected officials are doing abroad. The richest and most powerful country ever can’t provide for its citizens, but it can sure as hell spend half a trillion each year bombing civilians in the Middle East. WikiLeaks is no more than the disgusting truth the government fears you will know too much about.

  9. Patel says:

    WikiLeaks is only trying to present the truth to the public, and I feel like no one should have a problem with it. The government should not have the right to get involved in its citizen’s personal lives. For example, the CIA massive hacking leak that was discovered by WikiLeaks. It was not a publicity stunt, but it warned the citizens of America that the government we trust so blindly has been doing things behind our backs, that is against our wishes.

  10. Stephanie Dauber says:

    Websites like Wikileaks provide transparency to our government which I deeply appreciate. In the past, like with the events with the election, or other scandals that have played a role in the results, full knowledge of the behind the scenes is important to make informed decisions. Personal and civilian surveillance on a large scale (Edward Snowden talked a while ago in an interview that data that was transferred outside the country and back, as it usually might in data transfer, I’m not sure exactly how it works, but is fairly standard it would seem like) is routine. Massive amounts of our data are collected and stored, for some reason. As Deven said, the government doesn’t care about what I do in my day to day activities, and quite honestly, how would they know whether I was conversing with, terrorist groups lets say. Possibly keywords screened through programs, I don’t know and that’s not the point. My daily activities should not be a concern for the United States government, and if it had to be kept a secret, why is it being done? What are the results from mass surveillance?
    Some may counter with “If you’re not doing anything bad, then what’s the problem?” I have said before that I am not against selling my internet history to companies, and this is because it is used to target advertisements and products individually designed for me. Maybe afterwards they are being sold to the government for more information but I have not seen anything concerning that. But my personal history, photographs, Snapchats, text messages, emails, anything can be collected by the government without my notice. Wikileaks serves the public interest for once, not the government and it’s refreshing to see.

  11. Sara Kostmayer says:

    I will not pretend to be the most informed person about “current events” or the types of things that are happening in our country and world today. I do have some knowledge, but I will admit to a significant amount of ignorance to the subject. However, I agree with the majority of people who have commented on this blog commending Wikileaks for the work done. It is quite apparent that the federal government does not have the best history for being upfront with its people. When secrets are exposed or in danger, people oftentimes end up fleeing the country or missing. Although I can’t say for sure if Wikileaks is the best for both the internal and international stability of the country, I can say that I as a person am glad that at least there are people out there striving for the truth (or close to it).

  12. Jagger Riggle says:

    There are certain instances where I can understand why WikiLeaks released information. However, there are a lot of instances where this is a horrible idea. Sometimes the government keeps secrets from the public. This is usually because it could be a threat to national, or even global, security. When the matter is this serious, WikiLeaks should not release this information otherwise it could lead to very dire consequences. We must also remember that government officials are still humans, and should be treated as such no matter how much we do or do not like them. They have a life, too, and their personal life should be respected. WikiLeaks should not single someone out just to humiliate them, and should allow them to retain some privacy, unless it is important for American citizens to know and only for the right reason.

    When the matter is serious but would not threaten national security, or the information would still allow a person to keep their personal life private, I believe it is more justified to release information. For example, most people believed in Big Brother, yet it is still important to give a confirmation to the American people that they are being watched by their government.

  13. Kendall Wells says:

    Most Americans know that our government surveils us and they do not mind, but some believe it is a total breach of personal privacy. Living in 2017, it is hard to keep your information private when you are on social media, because you can’t erase the internet. The only way to avoid it is to stay off the internet period. I understand where people feel the website crosses the line, exposes a little too much, and can ruin people’s careers, but that’s what it was created for. The exposition of government secrets is helpful to many people who have the slightest clue in the power of government, and many times they not only help the public but political officials too. Personally, I am fond WikiLeaks for striving to give the American public the closest thing to the truth.

  14. Anna Smith says:

    Despite the slight betrayal of trust and the tendency of companies like WikiLeaks to snitch, there should be a certain amount of availability of information posted onto the internet. This does not only apply for national security; I think it applies to a local level as well. Sure it cuts back on the threat of terrorism and whatnot, but it can also be used in court cases involving all of the violence in the world. It is, of course, people’s first instinct to go straight to social media with their problems and even secrets. Yes, it’s invasive, but it’s kind of their right to protect the internet. People get nosey. That’s nothing new.

  15. Aurelia Caine says:

    Its 2017.. most of us all know or are suspicious that the government “spies” on us. I see WikiLeaks as a good thing. It release all the “secret” stuff that we should know about, but aren’t supposed to know about. I do believe that everyone needs their privacy as well though. It is known that spying and monitoring others without their permission is wrong, but we really can’t stop them.

  16. Landry Filce says:

    I believe that, on a fundamental level, if the government does not wish to have disparaging information leaked about them, they should not commit disparaging acts to begin with. Yet I am aware that this is a bit of an oversimplification considering our current political sphere, and the prevalence of terrorism, which is becoming propagated more and more on the internet. The government should be allowed to surveil its citizens to a certain degree in order to preserve national security. However, the United States is currently taking things way too far, and Wikileaks is taking a stance against this by making this information available to the public. It may destabilize our political sphere to a small degree, but it is worth it so that our government knows that if they do not follow certain ethical guidelines, there is a good chance that they will be exposed for it. Without things like Wikileaks, who knows what kind of things the government would do, knowing that they would not be held accountable for their doings. Wikileaks may cause minor destabilization, but it is worth it for the sake of transparency.

  17. Campbell Rolph says:

    I’m not thrilled with the way that Wikileaks and similar sites mass release data in the way that they do, as it only seems to raise tensions, and it’s not as if anything is actually changing because of it.
    However, I am encouraged by the fact that it is happening. The gov’t clearly hides things from the public, some of which I am sure is for genuinely good reasons, and mass releasing data has the potential of undoing something that the public NEEDED to be sheltered from. I’m fairly sure that the Patriot Act took away most of our privacy, and ever since it’s passing, I’m fairly sure that most people no longer need to be reminded of that. While I agree with the sentiment expressed by these whistle-blowers, I’m not comfortable with the danger associated.

  18. Vera L. Taire says:

    I disagree with the majority of people commenting. Wiki leaks is not a good thing.

    There is a difference between holding a government accountable and holding them prisoner. The Wikileaks disclosure has been diminishing the value of “whistle-blowing” itself for years. At this point, they’re only blowing it to hear the sound. There is a distinction between truth tellers and high tech gossip-peddlers.

    Does the government watching you change the amount of panda porn you’re watching in your dorm? Does the government watching you change the way you negatively (or positively) talk about people and things? Change the sites you visit, the comments you write, whatever else is in the leaks?

    Probably not. You’re still going to be doing the same things you’re currently doing, whether you know someone is watching or not.

    This entire situation seems like another case of millennial narcissism and misplaced self importance. ON one hand, we want the world to look at us. See how pretty I am? See how successful I am? See how progressive I am? See?
    And then we complain because it happened without our express permission.
    But I digress.

  19. Brent Styles says:

    Wikileaks provides an interesting dilemma. In some cases, ignorance is bliss. I would rather peacefully browse the internet than know that the government is saving all of my internet activity. Looking from a different perspective, knowing the government is monitoring me could help prevent me from making bad decisions on the internet. Another potential good thing about Wikileaks is that it may persuade people to not keep secrets or conduct in sketchy behind the back operations, as they are now at the risk of being revealed by Wikileaks.

  20. Amber Jackson says:

    I’m not properly educated on this topic to give an informed opinion, but I do believe that there is some merit to groups like WikiLeaks. Even though it is an invasion of privacy, I think we do get valuable information/knowledge from it. It’s definitely a win-lose situation. I feel like the debate about whether the public should be informed about everything that’s going on in the government or kept ignorant is an important debate to discuss. It’s beneficial that we get to know certain things, but with this comes unhappiness and sort of unconventional/problematic means of getting them. It also brings up the fear that anyone can easily do the same to us. I understand why groups like WikiLeaks exist, but I mean everything is good in moderation. I feel like we should know important stuff about what’s happening in our government/America, but not enough that we’re extremely uncomfortable or always complaining and worrying about something. I am once again a slightly uninformed individual giving my opinion.

  21. Samuel Patterson III says:

    Wikileaks is a valuable part of democracy. It keeps our politicians honest and always aware of the possibility of being exposed. This is important because it makes government and governmental officials be more transparent with their constituents. While it can destabilize democracies, I think that it is just another beauty of our democratic society. A person might be persuaded to run for political office after they find out their congressman or congresswoman is a dirty politician.

  22. Yousef Abu-Salah says:

    I completely support Wikileaks. They are providing the public with the actual truth regarding what our government does. We are completely entitled to this information because the government is not willing to provide us with a reassurance that they are not intruding upon our privacy. Privacy is such a rare commodity in our modern world, and we, as citizens, should always know of the government’s actions if they are always accessing ours. We all know that this has been going on, but Wikileaks is providing the people with proof that could be vital later on. Wikileaks, as a whistleblower organization, is able to expose the misdeeds of the powerful, which I personally believe is the basic purpose of the free press. By exposing these illegal actions, we show the powerful that they are not invincible and viable resistance exists. Its impact is immense, and I truly feel that it a noble organization. Hillary has repeatedly called it a “terrorist organization,” which I feel absolutely hilarious. She is afraid of its power against her particularly shady behavior, yet this does not allow her to call it a “terrorist” organization where there has not been any death and destruction. Overall, I completely support Wikileaks, and I feel that their actions are both justified and noble in order to provide some sort of resistance to the rich and powerful’s control.

  23. Kayla Patel says:

    Most of everything that the government does should be free for the public to know. When government officials cross the boundaries they should be held accountable for their mistakes. We could possibly trust the government too much, allowing them to get away with things that they should not.

  24. Mary Owings says:

    I agree with Yousef – the government should be as transparent to it’s people as we are to them. We elect government positions, we fund the government, and we should know what they’re up to. More power to Wikileaks – they should continue to reveal what the government is actually up to. Considering the government represents it’s people, we should be completely aware of their actions – especially those of our political leaders. Wikileaks should continue to expose them.

  25. Mariat Thankachan says:

    Groups like WikiLeaks bring into light what the people do not realize they cannot see. Citizens are able to see the truth in controversial happenings and the real nature of government officials and reactions in crisis because of these groups. This is important because citizens should know what is going on in the government, which makes people really think about what they say and do.

  26. Liam McDougal says:

    I think that WikiLeaks is doing a service to the American people and the world by revealing our government’s mass espionage of its people, and of foreign citizens. Much like Edward Snowden, who is either a hero or a traitor depending on who you ask, Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks teams are revealing government secrets in more efficient and organized ways than we have seen before. Government transparency is very important and, while I disagree with the government spying on innocent citizens, I disagree even more with the lack of transparency involved in it. If you’re going to watch me, at least let me know. Unfortunately, it is undeniable that WikiLeaks does have a political agenda, and have been used as a political tool, specifically in recent elections. They were responsible for leaking the DNC emails detailing the rigging of the Democratic primary to put Hillary as the candidate. (How’d that work out?) They also recently were involved with leaking emails in the French election from the Macron campaign. Wikileaks has been accused of being involved with the Russian government, who has been notorious for wanting to implement right-wing leaders in Western nations. The sources of Wikileaks’ information are often anonymous and secretive, but to me that does not really matter. I do not care about who leaked the information as much as I care that the information was hidden from us in the first place.

  27. Shuchi Patel says:

    Even if this information is not released, people talk. There is always someone who knows a loophole or a “secret.” Wikileaks helps people find out the truth; they deserve to know the secrets about the individuals they elect.

  28. Briana Johnston says:

    The amount of information WikiLeaks claims it has in holding is quite terrifying. Also, the ability WikiLeaks has to tear apart the fragile state of government and society has is also terrifying. WikiLeaks collaborates with five different news sources and has access to thousands of confidential documents they could release at any time. WikiLeaks has a lot of power in the information they gained, and have the power to cause distrust among the public. The way other countries view the United States is impacted heavily by the information leaked by WikiLeaks, but it wouldn’t matter either way in the type of society we live in today.

  29. Sarah Swiderski says:

    People will say that people say what they say whether they say it or not.
    My point it, people shouldn’t believe everything they read. Wikileaks claims to hold a bounty of information, but I find it hard to believe. Most of this information comes from anonymous sources, as stated by Wikipedia (granted, not a reliable source).
    I’m sure that there is some truth to some of it.
    But some is like a needle in a haystack.

  30. Mariana Strawn says:

    I believe that this has two sides to it. One the one hand, Wikileaks allows us to have more government accountability and allows the everyday citizen to have knowledge of what the government is doing, or what they are not telling us that they are doing. But on the other hand, often times the government hides information justly under the cause of national security. Therefore, every case has its merit. Furthermore, one of the greatest downsides is the way that Wikileaks destabilizes politics even more so than it already is. The way they appeared during the presidential elections was dangerous for politics and had a severe impact.

  31. Micah Robinson says:

    See this is what happens when you don’t change your password in two months. Yeah this is scary but it should be expected these are the risks to advancing technology and the consequence for not having laws to following along with the progress.

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