On March 10, Apple, Inc. released its latest update to its iOS mobile operating system (iOS 7.1). Within hours 6 percent of users had already downloaded the upgrade.
It was a bug discovered in the previous versions, however, that caused some to suspect the NSA had a hand in the hole, however.
A "vulnerability" in iOS 7 potentially left iPhone users' encrypted data accessible to hackers, or to NSA agents, if the opinions of some are to be believed. The story connecting the NSA to the Apple operation system flaw was explained by Jacob Siegal:
John Gruber gathered the evidence over at Daring Fireball and has come to a startling conclusion — the NSA might have something to do with the bug.
According to a tweet from Jeffery Grossman, this vulnerability has been present in the software since iOS 6. Based on the leaked PowerPoint document which exposed PRISM, Apple and its devices were added to the NSA program in October 2012, just one month after the release of iOS 6. Whether or not the NSA planted the exploit itself, Gruber believes there is a chance the government agency was aware of it and took advantage of it to gain access to private information.
“Once the bug was in place, the NSA wouldn’t even have needed to find the bug by manually reading the source code,” wrote Gruber. “All they would need are automated tests using spoofed certificates that they run against each new release of every OS. Apple releases iOS, the NSA’s automated spoofed certificate testing finds the vulnerability, and boom, Apple gets “added” to PRISM.”
While millions of iPhone and iPad owners rejoice over each new iOS update, they pay little if any attention to the shocking level of sophistication of the government’s surveillance of all Americans.
To overcome some of the under-reporting, we present a brief outline of the various surveillance tactics in use by our own government.
First, there is the social media surveillance.
In a report published in August, 2013 by In-Q-Tel (IQT), the technology research and development company founded by the CIA, the government’s use of social media as a tracking device is highlighted:
Governments are increasingly finding that monitoring social media is an essential component in keeping track of erupting political movements, crises, epidemics, and disasters, not to mention global trends.
And then, this, regarding In-Q-Tel’s efforts to infiltrate social media companies (investing money in them, for example) in order to make information gleaned from these accounts more accessible to government:
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