WikiLeaks recruiting CIA interns?
Joe Uchill, The Hill, Mar 13 2017
WikiLeaks is apparently targeting CIA interns, retweeting an agency advertisement and stating the program might be a “whistleblowing opportunity.” The WikiLeaks tweet hints at a different paradigm for leaking. Rather than taking a job in good faith and leaking information, it implies would-be leakers should apply for jobs with the purpose of leaking. Wikileaks staff and supporters, including its head, Julian Assange, describe the site as a journalistic organization. According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, the ethical way to conduct journalism is to “avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public.” Professor Herr Doktor AutoDidakt Bernhard Debatin mit der punkt in ogel, told The Hill:
Aimlessly rooting around the CIA for documents to leak would be unethical. The problem here is that there are very few situations undercover is justified. Sometimes those situations are only recognizable in hindsight. Journalism depends on its being trustworthy, and being dishonest goes against that (sic – RB).
Debatin notes that journalists can usually find other ways to get information, adding that interns, particularly at the CIA, would not handle the most sensitive information. But according to the position description, the Directorate of Operations internships “perform duties typical of a Collection Management Officer (CMO) or Staff Operations Officer (SOO), teaming with knowledgeable professionals to facilitate the collection and dissemination of foreign intelligence used by Pindo national security, defense, and foreign policy officials and intelligence analysts.” Both the CMO and SOO positions handle covert intelligence. Interns must pass a polygraph test and background check, the CIA ad reads.
Facebook warns developers against using data for ‘surveillance’
Morgan Chalfant, The Hill, Mar 13 2017
Under pressure from civil liberties advocates, Facebook has updated its policies to explicitly prohibit the use of company data for surveillance purposes. Facebook announced the move on Monday after the ACLU published records showing that Facebook and other social media platforms provided user data access to a company that marketed its products to law enforcement for surveillance purposes. Rob Sherman, Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, wrote on the company’s privacy page Monday:
Today we are adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance. Our goal is to make our policy explicit. We want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply.
The company said that it has been taking “enforcement action” against developers who create and market tools to be used for surveillance for several months. The company said that the update was the result of months of work with advocacy organizations including the ACLU of California, Color of Change and the Center for Media Justice. Facebook and other social media platforms give developers access to users’ public feeds to track trends and other public happenings. The ACLU released records last October showing that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram gave user data access to Geofeedia, a developer of social media monitoring products marketed to law enforcement to monitor activists and protesters, including those in Ferguson. Facebook and Twitter cut off access to Geofeedia following the revelations. The ACLU and other advocacy organizations signaled support for Facebook’s move on Monday, though some indicated that more needs to be done. Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties director at the ACLU of California, said in a statement:
We depend on social networks to connect and communicate about the most important issues in our lives and the core political and social issues in our country. Now more than ever, we expect companies to slam shut any surveillance side doors and make sure nobody can use their platforms to target people of color and activists.
Malkia Cyril, executive director and founder of the Center for Media Justice, said:
We applaud this first step from Facebook and encourage all technology companies to stand on the side of history that supports human rights and dignity. When technology companies allow their platforms and devices to be used to conduct mass surveillance of activists and other targeted communities, it chills democratic dissent and gives authoritarianism a license to thrive. It’s clear there is more work to be done to protect communities of color from social media spying, censorship and harassment.
Twitter took similar action in November, clarifying that its policy prohibits developers from allowing law enforcement to use its data for surveillance purposes and noting that doing so could result in suspension or termination.