Plausible Deniability – How to Let the Govt Hack Your Own Servers

Facebook and Google are both public companies. They get into a lot of trouble if they lie in the public domain, and expose themselves to shareholder lawsuits. Both companies have denied they permitted or were aware of the US government accessing their servers. So, given that we are supposed to take them at their word, how could such a systematic hack have taken place at such scale and over such a long period of time?

Many significant hacks or leaks are inside jobs. The revelation of NSA snooping itself came from an inside leak, a former CIA-staffer who was working as a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton on a security contract. So, if such a Facebook or Google hack took place, it is highly probably that an employee or contractor of those companies facilitated the hack from the inside.

It is therefore easy to think through how such a hacker came to be employed in these sensitive areas of the company, whilst at the same time to allow those companies plausible deniability of knowledge. They were asked by the government to employ spooks, government agents or contractors whose likely mission was to compromise the security of these servers, at some point and in some way, on behalf of the NSA and the US government.

Facebook and Google are asked at some point to hire people who are ‘spooky’. They hire these people. Their servers get hacked. By accident, the scheme gets exposed. The companies can counter that, once they have ‘found the source of the hack’, they can point to individuals or contractors (if they ever even bother to follow up on the story). An isolated case, nothing to do with systematic support of the secret government agenda to spy on everyone.

President Assad in Syria blames ‘terrorists’ for the uprising, as he has done since day 1 of the revolution. Prime Minster Erdoğan in Turkey has used ‘terrorism’ as an excuse to lock up a thousand people, and has blamed the Taksim Square protests on the same said people. It is way too easy to use terrorism as an excuse… for anything and everything. And it is shameful of the media to not drill publicly elected officials and administration officials on how everyone gets effectively punished by surveillance, on the track of real or imaginary ‘terrorists’. Governments, we have been learning, have often not earned our trust.

So, to square the conundrum of how the NSA can spy on Facebook and Facebook can deny any knowledge, this simple approach, disconnecting each step, creates a layer of plausible deniability for all concerned. They are telling the truth about one piece of the puzzle. I wonder if anyone will ever try to see if there are other dots that need to be connected.

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