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The Most Striking Thing About the WikiLeaks CIA Data Dump Is How Little Most People Cared ( 308

Last week, WikiLeaks released a trove of web pages describing sophisticated software tools and techniques used by the C.I.A to break into smartphones, computers, and IoT devices including smart TVs. Despite the initial media coverage, it appears normal people don't really care much about it, reports Quartz. An anonymous reader shares the report: There's also one other big difference between now and 2013. Snowden's NSA revelations sent shockwaves around the world. Despite WikiLeaks' best efforts at theatrics -- distributing an encrypted folder and tweeting the password "SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds" -- the Vault 7 leak has elicited little more than a shrug from the media and the public, even if the spooks are seriously worried. Maybe it's because we already assume the government can listen to everything.
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The Most Striking Thing About the WikiLeaks CIA Data Dump Is How Little Most People Cared

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @02:43PM (#54030977)

    Most people with half-a-brain already assumed that the CIA, NSA, and FBI were doing stuff like this. This merely confirmed our suspicions.

    • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @02:51PM (#54031049)
      It wasn't so much that we assumed they would be doing stuff like this, it's that this is what we expect they would be, should be doing.

      To put it another way, what was shocking about the Snowden revelations wasn't that the NSA spied, it was the bulk and indiscriminate nature thereof. We have no problem when the CIA is hacking the phones or computers of some ISIS or Al Qaeda bad guy or some North Korean/etc general. What bothers us is when they start vacuuming up everyone's calls/emails/etc including ours.

      If anything, the reports were actually fairly reassuring, because what it shows is that encryption works. They couldn't break it, and had to instead compromise the end device, because if your system is pwned then nothing you do on that system (phone, computer, etc) is secret from the guy who pwned it.
      • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @02:55PM (#54031105) Journal

        Came here to say this. The CIA seems like its actually doing its job. "Shocking" would be spying on US citizens on US soil, NSA-style; otherwise, carry on!

        • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @02:58PM (#54031133)

          Are you really so naive as to think they're only using these tools against non-Americans?

          • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @03:15PM (#54031295) Journal

            Well if you want me to be shocked and outraged then you need to show me them using them against Americans. I didn't see anything like that in Vault 7 (so far). The most terrible thing in Vault 7 was their pathetic meme folder. And harboring of bronies.

            Now what did bother me about Vault 7 is the CIA hoarding exploits instead of informing software and device makers so they could fix them. The (alleged) purpose of the US military and intelligence apparatus is to defend the people of the United States. They're taking my tax dollars, and I'm not as pissed off about it as I could be because it's supposed to be going towards efforts to defend me from attack. Instead they're using it to attack others. No no no. Defend me first. That's what I'm paying you fuckers for.

            But that's not really a concept most of the public thinks or cares about. They cared about the NSA because they were hoovering up their dick pics. Once CIA is revealed to be hoarding dick pics then people will care.

            • Now what did bother me about Vault 7 is the CIA hoarding exploits instead of informing software and device makers so they could fix them.

              I would agree with this, especially since they were ostensibly directed to release these things to the manufacturers. But I guess they get to play the "necessary for national security" card.

              As far as getting worked up about it goes, though... were any of these exploits functional as mass surveillance tools? They all seem to be stuff the CIA could use to target one individual. Whether that individual is an American or a non-American - isn't this exactly how we want it to work? Isn't the reason the Snowden re

              • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
                Re They all seem to be stuff the CIA could use to target one individual..
                Have a look at the Automated Implant Branch (AIB).
            • Well if you want me to be shocked and outraged then you need to show me them using them against Americans.

              Are you going to need a smoking gun before you believe the journalists who are reporting that they each have several intelligence sources confirming that the CIA is using it against domestic targets?

              The trouble with not believing that bombs are falling until you see a smoking crater is that sometimes you're at the bottom of one.

              • Are you going to need a smoking gun

                A body would be enough. There's nothing to even suggest they've used these tools against domestic targets. You might as well point to a tank and tell me to be shocked and outraged because the US Army is crushing little American babies under its treads.

              • by lgw ( 121541 )

                There is nothing less credible in the modern world than a journalist claiming anonymous sources. Oh, I can totally believe there's some petty domestic spying that goes on, of the "spy on your girlfriend" sort, maybe even a group trying to take down a president, as happened to Nixon, but spying beyond such abuse by individual agents? I assume the CIA has enough work to keep it busy abroad.

          • by Megol ( 3135005 )

            Naive? Nope. FBI and other agencies would be very angry if the CIA did stuff they aren't authorized to do. And of course CIA do use those tools against US citizens, they are allowed to and required to do so in some circumstances.

          • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

            Are you really so naive as to think they're only using these tools against non-Americans?

            The problem is that we don't have "American" TVs and computers and phone and routers, and "non-American" ones used by those of other countries. Yes yes, there are regional differences, but they're mild. Americans use the same computers, the same TVs, the same phones, the same devices as folks in other countries. That means if the CIA/NSA can hack the devices of foreigners, by necessary they can do the exact same with Americans. Whether or not they abuse this or not, the ability is unsettling, and power cree

          • Are you really so naive as to think they're only using these tools against non-Americans?

            Having hacking tools and using these tools against Americans are two very different things. The former is what was leaked and its exactly the sort of tools the CIA is expect to have in order to perform its mission. If and when the later is shown the public will show greater interest, as they did with the 2013 revelations.

          • Are you really so naive as to think they're only using these tools against non-Americans?

            Did the report detail who was being targeted? If not, then what is the shocking part?

          • I haven't read through all 8000+ pages of the latest dump, but I couldn't find anything that outlined specific programs, plans or even intentions to use these tools on American citizens on American soil. Can we assume that someone will misuse the tools to spy on their ex? Probably. But that's just an assumption.

            Until we have some evidence to prove otherwise, all we're left with is CIA doing CIA shit. They're a spy organization building spy tools. Color me shocked.

          • Unless information comes out that says the CIA is performing surveillance on americans on american soil, then yes, I am assuming that the CIA is using the information in here to actually do their job. Which is to spy. Pretty much everything that has been released from Vault 7 is basically information saying "the CIA is doing it's job" and "here's roughly how the CIA is doing it's job." The NSA leaks on the other hand showed an agency that was operating well outside of it's traditionally understood role by
      • This.. I'd mod you up if I didn't feel compelled to reply myself. I EXPECT and WANT our government to have these tools. For those that think, "What you don't think they will use it on us?" That is not the point. I want our government to employ the absolute best hackers in the world. We need to be able to counter the same actions from other countries. The issue of spying on Americans without warrant is separate of what tools we have available. It's like not letting the government posses guns because the
        • This.. I'd mod you up if I didn't feel compelled to reply myself. I EXPECT and WANT our government to have these tools.

          You want your government to hand them out to mercenary contractors who inevitably sells them on the black market before they finally leak to wikileaks? Because that was the issue here. CIA is contracting out their attacks and handing this stuff over to contractors. It was already on the black market and used by criminals when leaked to wikileaks, and still CIA kept it "secret".

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2017 @02:52PM (#54031063)

      Here is another not-so-secret revelation that will one day come out in full: The CIA and NSA are using false rape/pedophilia/sexual harassment/etc. charges to character assassinate people who threaten or cross the U.S. Julian Assange, Dominique Strauss Kahn, and Jacob Appelbaum are three of the most famous cases of this, but there are many others. So you might want to be careful about letting strange women into your hotel room if you're revealing U.S. secrets, challenging the supremacy of the U.S. Dollar, or getting in the way of attempts to put a backdoor in Tor.

    • I think at this point we know we are bent over and being reamed by the three letter agencies, not to mention the ISPs.

    • Looks like it is around 90% of people who know about government spying , 50% of are angry about it and 50% of it think it is a good thing. [] [] []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2017 @02:43PM (#54030981)

    These were things the Obama admin were in charge of. The press doesn't want to cover it

    • No, they correctly know that people who understand what it is the CIA does don't CARE who the president is or was.

      Seriously nothing has come out that isn't expressly in the CIA's charter. This toolset is like pointing to a plumber's oxytorch and ladder and shouting "See! Be outraged!"

      If you insist about partisanship then at least point at Roosevelt who created the agency. But then none of the subsequent red presidents abolished it either.

  • You are wrong (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2017 @02:46PM (#54031005)

    EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. I. KNOW. has commented on Vault#7

    It is simply not being reported.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Yunzil ( 181064 )

      Wow, all three of the people in your bubble commented on it?!

    • It is simply not being reported.

      Yeah, definitely the most non-reported story [] of 2017.

    • maybe in the USA? it is certainly being reported all over the world and has spent many days on every news broadcast and the front page of every news site.
    • by grcumb ( 781340 )

      EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. I. KNOW. has commented on Vault#7

      It is simply not being reported.

      That's empirically false, as others have noted.

      I think the explanation is vastly simpler than that: Hark back to the Last Week Tonight show when John Oliver warned the world that the NSA could see their dick pics. It was a magisterial take down.

      What he didn't count on, though, was that the majority of the population is actually okay with total strangers seeing their dick pics. The thing that makes them nervous, uncomfortable and afraid is when their family and friends see their dick pics. The NSA so far has

  • by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @02:47PM (#54031011)
    This recent "leak" concerns expected activity, and legal activity, the CIA possessing the technical means to gather intelligence. The 2003 leak concerned domestic surveillance by agencies prohibited from performing domestic surveillance. In short, the public expects the CIA to be able to break into an iPhone.
    • The leak was about these tools being given to third parties who leak and sell them.. Are you sure it is legal for mercenaries to do this? And two why do you think CIA needs mercenaries? Could it be to get around their limitation of not being allowed to spy on Americans themselves?

      • by drnb ( 2434720 )
        That contractors work with US intelligence is not a surprise either, again the Snowden story. With proper security clearances and contracts signed it is most likely perfectly legal for these contractors to have access to these tools, or to be the ones who actually developed these tools for the government.
        And overly broad access to data and/or tools, again nothing new as Manley and Snowden demonstrate.
    • by Zemran ( 3101 )
      Reality does not make good dramatic headlines. This latest leak actually does not contain anything for people to get excited about. The CIA researched a lot of stuff. Mildly interesting. Nowhere is there any mention in the text of any surveillance taking place. They just did a lot of research, as they should. They found out what bad people can do, as they should. The fact that they were doing their job does and finding out how such things work does not make a good headline but imply that they are doi
  • Enemy of the State (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It was fiction in 1998... and now it appears to be all too real.

    The only question that remains is how autocratic are those in power to manipulate these capabilities to their benefit and at the expense of the public welfare.

  • But I do not think that's the reason no one really cares. I think most people don't trust wikileaks.
    Julian is clearly a complete and total fuck head with a political agenda.
    Personally, I would have a hard time believing anything released by that jack ass has not been carefully cherry picked.

    At this stage, everyone knows the US government is spying on the everything they do. Most people just don't care. Everyone also knows that wikileaks guy is a fart muffin. So... they also don't care.

    • I think most people don't trust wikileaks.

      Only hyper-partisan leftists. Nothing WikiLeaks has ever released has been shown to be false.

      • 'Collateral murder' was edited in a very dishonest way. It wasn't CGIed, but the conclusion they pushed was clearly false.

      • Only hyper-partisan leftists. Nothing WikiLeaks has ever released has been shown to be false.

        I'm a hyper-anti-partisan ultra-leftist and I don't strictly trust Wikileaks. I trust that most of what they release will be genuine. I don't trust that they don't have an agenda. I don't decide how to feel about their releases until other sources have gone through them and made intelligent commentary.

        • Everyone has an agenda. Anyone telling you they don't have an agenda is lying to you. Or lying to themselves.

          But there's no reason not to trust that something WikiLeaks releases is genuine. No one even credibly refutes WikiLeak's releases. They just attack the source.

          The instant WikiLeaks releases something that's shown to be false I'll stop trusting them. In the meantime I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at Slashdotters trusting the CIA more than WikiLeaks. Jesus Christ what a difference and elect

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      So you hate wikileaks because ... it revealed your guy was dirty?

      Stop rooting for your favorite team, and start rooting for a less corrupt government.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Most "normal" people the summary refers to have never heard of the Wikileaks release concerning the CIA. In fact, I am pretty sure if I took an informal poll of friends and family most of them (8/10 at least) wouldn't have any idea what Wikileaks is.

    The majority of people do not consider whether they are being spied on, it doesn't occur to them at all. It's not necessarily that they don't care, but they are simply unaware it's an option. If you don't follow tech news this is not something that comes up on p

  • I'ts because nearly everything in the release was already known ancient exploits or techniques. None of this is new.

    And because WikiLeaks, while it had potential at one time, is irrevocably tainted by the a-hole in charge.

  • We've known for years that any wired device connected to the net is vulnerable. Changing the end use of the device does not change a thing regards security.

    The majority of us also know the what comes out of his mouth is complete bullshit.

  • So you are angry whats the next step? write an angry post? go on a protest? what is that going to achieve at best they will say they are going to stop doing it and go on doing the same thing in secret. Maybe a few people will lose there jobs, but they will be replaced by others that are just as unethical.

    Until people stop having irrational fears of terrorist, communist, immigrants, homosexuals, witches, ... (pick your favorite group that is going to "destroy" civilization) we will allow agencies the CIA to

  • by daemonhunter ( 968210 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @03:10PM (#54031269)

    What are we supposed to do about it?

    The real issue isn't the fact that the CIA/NSA/ [insert bureau here] can do these things. The issue is that they can't be held accountable for it.

    We saw this in the financial crash of '08 (albeit in the private sector) as well: no one who is actually responsible for these things will ever see jail time. This won't end anyone's career. There's just not much the American people can do about it, and I think there's a sense among the general populace that they know this, even if only on a subconscious level. It's not apathy. It's a helpless resignation.

  • The US military can call in a strike on any position in the world, with 1 meter accuracy, and deliver a deadly payload in less than 6 hours. 2 hours to most populated areas. They can wipe out an entire city in a day, even without nukes. They have nearly invisible fortresses both above and below the water all over the globe. They have aircraft which carry nuclear weapons which are nearly invisible to radar and can circumnavigate the globe without ever having to land.

    That's insane. And yet we don't react when

    • Also, if they have physical access to your Samsung TV (for the USB based hack), they could add their own microphones throughout the body, wired into a battery so unplugging it doesn't turn it off.

  • by ninthbit ( 623926 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @03:19PM (#54031329)

    It's mostly alarm fatigue. Constantly we're berated with news about how our rights are eroding and the government is working against us. While much of it is very true, until it extends to the point of interfering with the common citizens daily life, they won't care.

    People are sheep. You can shave their coats and even pick off a few to slaughter, as long as the heard is large enough to feel anonymous, they really have no reaction. It's not until the sheep feel like they're the next in line do they care.

  • Is it a shock that our covert HUMINT foreign intelligence agency has a pile of tools for covertly gathering human intelligence? No. I'd be more surprised if they didn't have stuff like this. These tools are useful for the kind of targeted, one-off, POI-focused surveillance that we want our spies to be doing, rather than the sweeping, rights-trampling dragnets we've been seeing from the FBI and NSA.

    I'm mostly upset that this stuff was mishandled and leaked, not that it exists.

    So am I upset that our spies

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Use a one time pad system on paper.
      Never re use the codes.
      That will get your privacy back.
      When US brands tell you their hardware and software is safe don't trust them.
      Re 'These tools are useful for the kind of targeted,"
      The Automated Implant Branch (AIB) work is not "focused", "one-off". Thats malware.
  • I care a lot.

    I'm waiting to see what will be done about it, by the new sheriff. Maybe nothing, maybe little, but... Wait and see.

    We get to vote them out again in a little while.

  • Most people don't care. They never did, not even back in 2013.

    The difference now is back in 2013 the media needed headlines. Now they're more focused on Trumps spelling mistakes in his tweets.

  • Maybe there are 'more interesting' things going on, but in the last week have asked more then a few of my non - tech industry friends if they have heard about the new wiki leaks drop and non of them have. Frankly it just isn't being reported. That is one of the problems with our modern media, they serve as a filter for what is important but are driven by political ideology even more so then what sells and certainly have no real way of determine or interest in what is and isn't important to people. Many p

  • I see the media is in full-out damage control.

  • People cared about Snowden because NSA overreach affected virtually every US citizen. What NSA was caught doing is ILLEGAL.

    Everyone assumes CIA hoards 0-days to be used for espionage purposes against OTHER countries. This is why CIA exists. CIA brass has been publically talking about the cooption of smart* products for such purposes for a number of years.

    If there is evidence in one of these leaks of CIA spying on US citizens without a warrant this would be certainly be worthy of more attention.

    If CIA was

  • Nobody cares, because the intelligence community is supposed to be able to get information that the "bad dudes" want to keep from them.

  • The civilized world has at least a base level of universal health care for everyone within their country. We find that gets in the way of profit so we won't allow it to happen. This isn't a partisan issue, either - the health insurance industry owns politicians of every flavor and invests heavily to ensure that this does not change.
  • If the leak had been about a Totally Illegal Private Email Server, then people would have chanted to "Lock Her Up"

  • Is it that we do not care or is it that we are not at all surprised?

    More importantly, who feels empowered to make a difference?
  • Similar things were said about Snowden's revelations which continue to bear fruit for the world. Don't be fooled into believing the unexamined belief the /. headline wants you to believe—that "most people" don't care. The Democrats are sore that they lost the US presidential election, a majority of state governerships, and control over Congress. They're still pushing this undefended Russophobic idea that the Russians somehow "hacked" (to use their language) the US election. They even chummed up with t

  • What "most people care" about is not only not represented by mainstream corporate so-called journalists (stenographers to power, really) but that doesn't even jibe with telling people encryption works [].

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982