A former CIA director Michael Hayden has admitted that the CIA kills people based on metadata that is collected unconstitutionally by snooping on US citizen’s smartphones, smart TVs, and other internet-enabled devices.
Hayden made the statement in a debate at Johns Hopkins University after Georgetown University Law professor David Cole detailed the kind of information the government can obtain simply by collecting metadata.
Metadata includes who you call, when you call them, how long the call lasts, and how often calls between the two parties are made.
The NSA has often claimed that such metadata collection is permissible considering the content of the call is not collected, Cole argued that is not the case, since the former general counsel of the NSA, Stewart Baker, has already stated metadata alone is more than enough to reveal vast amounts of an individual’s personal information.
Unfortunately, former CIA director Michael Hayden says the agency kills people based on metadata alone.
Michael Hayden’s comment is particularly terrifying after the Vault 7 revelations made by WikiLeaks last week.
The classified CIA documents released by WikiLeaks showcases the tremendous amount of resources that the intelligence agency has put into ensuring that our popular devices, whether they be Android or Apple, have certain back-door vulnerabilities.
Most people have assumed that the government works with major tech companies to notify the company when a vulnerability has been found, this data dump by WikiLeaks implies that the CIA is not only not telling companies about vulnerabilities, but has also been actively pursuing to find and even purchase additional vulnerabilities.
The vulnerabilities in our devices will be exploited not just by our security agencies, but by hackers and governments around the world. Patching security holes immediately, not stockpiling them, is the best way to make everyone’s digital life safe.
Companies like Apple are already claiming that they have patched the CIA-created holes revealed by WikiLeaks, it is our faith that our tech products are secure that may be more difficult to fix, not to mention our trust that the CIA is protecting American citizens.