If the powers-that-be have their way, then the media sharing news about national security leaks as well as people sharing hyperlinks to hacks could become criminal offenses in the USA. The CIA, however, can apparently hack Congress without it being a crime.
CIA hacks Congress to spy on spy documents?
CIA employees allegedly hacked into the US Senate Intelligence Committee's computers to find out how the oversight committee got hold of “unapproved material” about the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation techniques. For four years, and at a cost of $40 million, the committee worked on a 6,300-page report about CIA torture programs. The “CIA insisted that committee staff members be allowed to review classified cables only at a secure facility in Northern Virginia,” reported the New York Times. “And only after a group of outside contractors had reviewed the documents first.”
The report has still not been declassified, but it is rumored to be deeply critical of water-boarding and other forms of CIA interrogation involving torture. The committee allegedly learned of the CIA monitoring congressional computers earlier this year. Senator Mark Udall accused the CIA of taking “unprecedented action” against the committee. Sen. Ron Wyden referenced the hacking and monitoring when he previously asked CIA Director John Brennan "if provisions of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act 'apply to the CIA? Seems to me that’s a yes or no answer'."
Share a link to a hack, go to jail for 100 years
Forget for a moment CFAA and actual hacking; instead wrap your head around being sent to prison for over one hundred years for merely sharing a hyperlink to a hack you didn’t do. That’s what is happening to Barrett Brown. If you’ve ever clicked on a link that leads to hack details, such as when Stratfor was sent to AntiSec hell, then you know that generally the linked page contains a zipped file. A person would have to download, unzip, read through and make note of any dumped data. Just sharing a link to a hack is not the same thing as unzipping, harvesting credit card details and then committing fraud. But in Brown’s case, the powers-that-be claim that sharing a link to a hack is a crime.
Caught with your pants down doing dirty deeds in secret? Have pitiful security guarding those secrets? Sorry for you, your embarrassment and your apparent mindset of entitlement, but the answer is not to criminalize sharing a link to a hack. As Brown's defense said, “Jeremy Hammond, the politically-motivated hacker responsible for the breach is currently serving a 10 year sentence, while Brown faces considerably more time for researching and reporting on the story.”
Censor the media, criminalize news about leaks
And if outgoing NSA Chief Gen. Keith Alexander has his way, it will go beyond censoring the media to silencing pesky “media leaks” detailing dragnet surveillance. During a cybersecurity speech at Georgetown University, Alexander complained that “Snowden’s surveillance revelations – which he referred to only as ‘media leaks’ – was complicating his ability to get congressional support for a bill that would permit the NSA and the military Cyber Command he also helms to secretly communicate with private entities like banks about online data intrusions and attacks.”
“We’ve got to handle media leaks first,” Alexander said. “I think we are going to make headway over the next few weeks on media leaks. I am an optimist. I think if we make the right steps on the media leaks legislation, then cyber legislation will be a lot easier.”
While Alexander didn’t directly blame Edward Snowden, an op-ed by Jack Israel, former technical director for NSA's analysis & production directorate, stated, "Snowden leaks have permanently damaged the NSA."
Sure there could be countries gleefully hoping the leaks harmed U.S. national security, but why are Americans upset? Because we believe in the United States and in citizens’ constitutionally-guaranteed rights that make the US great...you know, like the First Amendment, freedom of the press. So how dare “they” make it out that reporting on the Snowden leaks is a crime against the USA? If the press is gagged, then won't we have become America the censored?
Blame the paid government trolls for ruining the Internet?
So who can you blame that the world seems to be going to hell in a giant hand basket? It depends who you ask, but now there’s “scientific proof that trolls are ruining the Internet.” Who are those trolls? Well some Internet trolls are paid government operatives. Imagine that.