Government Secrets Worth Leaking... or Keeping?
March 14, 2017•26 min
So, the C.I.A. has a back door to your phone. At least, according to the Vault 7 data dump from WikiLeaks.
The documents—as yet unproven—say that if your device is connected to the internet, the American government wants in. And has a few tricky tools to do it.
But they’ve had some sneaky tools for a while now. Just ask Daniel Rigmaiden.
In 2008, Rigmaiden was arrested for filing fraudulent tax returns. And he couldn’t figure out how he was caught. He was careful. He stayed anonymous online, he used pre-paid debit cards and fake IDs. So he developed what his attorneys thought was a pretty crazy theory about government surveillance. And it turned out he was right.
This week we revisit Daniel’s story. What he uncovered was more than a theory—it was a balancing act. The technology the government used to catch him was hidden to allegedly keep us safe. If criminals didn't know about it, they wouldn't be able to hack it.
But does that secrecy actually open us up to other dangers? We hear from Nate Freed Wessler, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, about a movement to give us a bigger say in how law enforcement does surveillance. Because things are moving fast.
For more on what we know about the leaked documents, which WikiLeaks is calling “Vault 7,” read our round-up of the news here. And if these revelations have you thinking about privacy in a whole new way, try our Privacy Paradox challenges. You can start them any time.