Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, They hacked my phone, I don't know why

Why was it candy to hack the Handy of the world's most powerful woman?  Did she park her Porsche in a public place without locking it? 

The press are outraged and the politicians are indignant that Merkel's phone has been hacked for years by the NSA.  Obama did or didn't know about it. This diplomatic squabble makes for good headlines, but it's not the real lesson of this story.

Indeed, why was Merkel using an unsecured phone?!  According to press reports of the Snowden revelations, she was using the sort of phone service that you or I could buy by popping into a shop in Berlin.  

If the NSA has been listening to Merkel's phone for years, and the German authorities only learned about it from the Snowden revelations, then one has to assume that other sophisticated national surveillance organizations, like the Chinese and the Russians, have been listening too.  State surveillance secrets in China and Russia are less leaky than in the US, and I doubt we'll see a Chinese or Russian Snowden expose their practices to the world.  

So, the most powerful woman on the planet apparently needs help in recruiting a staff of competent computer and communications security experts who could help protect her and her role.  

Any privacy lawyer who works in the field of security breaches always asks a basic question of the target of a breach/hack:  were you using "adequate security"?  Seriously, would you park your Porsche in a public place without locking it? 

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