‘Russian hackers’ have become the go-to bogeymen for Washington. There’s little mention of American hackers though – probably because they aren’t needed, since most of the internet is a branch of US intelligence.
The US, which is now raising massive alarm over Russia’s supposed efforts to hack everything Americans hold dear, has been refusing to sign a treaty on cyberspace behavior with Russia for almost a decade now. The reason is simple, one Russian-American author explains: Washington doesn’t need a treaty, because it dominates the digital space completely as it is.
Washington’s panic over ‘Russian hackers’ is just a reflection of what it’s been doing to the world for years, says Yasha Levine, the author of ‘Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet.’
And thanks to surveillance programs like PRISM, outed by Edward Snowden 2013, the US doesn’t even need hackers: just by being on social media or using Google, you’re voluntarily surrendering your data to the NSA.
Far from scaling back its snooping after Snowden pulled the curtain on PRISM, the US has multiplied its efforts. Citing ‘national security’, lawmakers renewed the NSA’s sweeping spying powers this year. Domestic phone surveillance tripled last year, user data requests to Apple doubled, and user data requests to Google were at an all-time high.
And just recently, the ‘Five eyes’ powers – the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – issued a memo demanding that tech giants implement ‘backdoors’ to allow governments direct access to users’ encrypted data.
The entire narrative of cyber threats to the “good guys” US is a smokescreen to hide the unenviable fact: it’s the US that’s the apex predator of the digital ocean.