The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency, best known as domestic and foreign intelligence and security forces, have expanded their jurisdictions into cybercrime. Social media giants are poaching high-level directors and legal counselors from the FBI and CIA in what has become a “revolving door” between the security agencies and the areas they work to enforce.
Twitter has recruited dozens of former feds and spies in recent years from national security agencies to work in areas of security, trust, safety and content, according to MintPress News, which studied a number of employment and recruitment websites.
“The Federal Bureau Of Tweets: Twitter Is Hiring An Alarming Number Of FBI Agents” read a MintPress headline.
Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent and whistleblower, said there is a “revolving door” between the FBI and areas it is trying to regulate, creating a conflict of interest. Such activity blurs the distinction between public and private entities
“These [tech] companies are using the mythical aura of the FBI. They can point to somebody and say ‘oh, you can trust us; our CEO or CFO is FBI,’” Rowley said.
MintPress also reported that Facebook has recruited dozens of people from the FBI, CIA and Department of Defense in highly politically sensitive sectors such as trust, security and content moderation, “to the point where some might feel it becomes difficult to see where the U.S. national security state ends and Facebook begins.”
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In an official Facebook video, Aaron, a former senior analytic manager at the FBI until 2019, speaks about his job as senior product policy manager for misinformation at Meta, the parent of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Aaron says he manages “the team that writes the rules for Facebook”, determining “what is acceptable and what is not.” That means he and his team decide what content Facebook’s 2.9 billion active users see and what they don’t see, Alan MacLeod wrote for Mint Press.
Yael Eisenstat, a former CIA officer and national security adviser for Vice President Joe Biden, joined Facebook in 2018 to lead its Global Elections Integrity Operations focused on political advertising, Oregon Live reported. She quit after six month because she said she realized that Facebook wasn’t actually interested in elections integrity — it was interested in “exploiting our data”.
In a Washington Post opinion column, Eisenstat wrote that political ads on Facebook were treated differently at the company than all other content, essentially getting a free pass when it came to misinformation. Eisenstat said she wanted to change that, “to ensure that [Facebook] is not harming democracy.”
The CIA has carried out a mass surveillance program on U.S., according to documents declassified at the request of two Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, who serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Fortune reported Feb. 11, 2022. It involves the bulk collection of data and features “serious problems associated with warrantless backdoor searches of Americans.”
“These reports raise serious questions about what information of ours the CIA is vacuuming up in bulk and how the agency exploits that information to spy on Americans,” tweeted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “This invasion of our privacy must stop.”
When the product is free, “you are the product”, Clara Jeffrey and Monika Bauerlein wrote in the November-December 2013 issue of Mother Jones. It’s your data that makes Facebook a multi-billion dollar company, it’s your data that info-mining companies package, repackage, sift, and sell. And it’s your data that tech giants also pass along to the government. “Companies have given the NSA access to the records of every phone call made in the United States. Companies have inserted NSA-designed ‘back doors’ in security software, giving the government (and, potentially, hackers—or other governments) access to everything from bank records to medical data. And oh, yeah, companies also flat-out sell your data to the NSA and other agencies.”