Data Purchase Debate: American Spy Agencies Face Scrutiny Over Citizen Data Acquisition

The upward trend in cyberattack growth has left plenty of people talking. After all, countries like the US are continually facing threats from such ordeals and a long list of other tech events including AI, deepfakes, terrorism, regional violence, and apps putting the nation’s national security at risk.

We have only outlined a few of the many threats as per a recently published report from the American Government’s top intelligence agency which had plenty to say on this front.

The report despite being unclassified was rolled out on Monday and gave an up close and personal view of what the intelligence community in the US has to say on this front.

It continues to face massive threats from gathered data and now that we’re entering into the election period, it’s going to be interesting to witness the rise in tech and cybercrime as the main determinant in terms of national security assessments.

Another unclassified session featuring the Senate’s Intelligence Committee further delineated the matter where leading intelligence officials in the nation’s government agencies gave out testimonies to lawmakers to answer queries about the current state of affairs. Below, we’ve outlined the top four takeaways from that particular session.

Around 74 different nations were making use of the likes of commercial spyware. We even saw the American government specify firms such as NSO Group as well as Intellexa. The yearly report that was recently published also delineated how 74 of the world’s leading countries obtained commercial spyware that is being misused to target certain individuals like journalists.

This report fails to clarify when and where intelligence communities received numbers and how the Office does not reply to requests for comments when made to do so.

In 2023, similar nations and similar stats with similar dates be put out as this year’s report.

For starters, American officials did delineate in detail how the struggle to fight against ransomware is not ending anytime soon and it’s a serious problem.

Another spoke about how it’s a leading issue around the globe and many hacking gangs are trying to extort enterprises in the name of ransom money to attain stolen files. We’ve even witnessed some cyber experts detail how they’ve requested governments to ban ransom payments to prevent hackers from gaining profits via cybercrimes.

America shuns such mechanisms and instead spoke about disrupting and dismantling all of those based in places like Russia and external to the jurisdiction of the country’s justice system.

They detailed how a lack of cooperation from countries like Russia just makes matters worse with time.

America has issued warnings about the huge rise in AI when it goes down to impacting operations.

Today, we’re seeing an upward trend in terms of digital operations where AI is the highlighting point. But the threat is there as more AI-based tools come into play regarding matters like interfering with the elections or spreading misinformation online.

The increase in detailed fake pictures and videos continues to play a serious role in data warfare. It’s intentionally giving rise to more confusion as well as discord across the board.

America’s intelligence officials then went on to speak in detail about how no laws are currently in place in regards to restricting American spies from purchasing data belonging to the country.

Plenty of spy agencies in the nation have aligned with such a practice. The fact that so much data is shared from one device to the next means purchasing huge figures of users’ location data and traffic by spy agencies via data brokers.

Is that even legal, when you come to think of it? We’re not quite sure here. There is a minor exchange arising with the agency’s head who says they did enter into an agreement to purchase such data commercially.

So we can say that American spy agencies can continue to purchase data belonging to US citizens that’s up for grabs until Congress ends such practices. And that includes the fact that the root issue stems from data brokers having user data that shouldn’t even be in their possession to begin with.

Image: DIW-Aigen

Read next: European Commission Accused Of Violating EU’s Data Protection Rules Through Microsoft 365
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