Metro spoke to cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier about the latest revelations from Wikileaks about U.S. government spying and what they mean to regular people. The leaked documents, which appear to be from the Central Intelligence Agency, describes software tools that the agency uses to hack into cellphones, computers and internet-connected televisions.
Metro: Do these revelations from Wikileaks surprise you at all?
Schneier: Not in the least. What’s the news here? Computers are hackable, this isn’t news. It doesn’t change a thing.
M: Should people get rid of their devices?
S: No. Is your phone spying on you? Yes, of course it is, that's how it works. My phone knows where I am, your phone knows where you are, that's how we're talking to each other. My phone knows my email and it knows what I searched on Google. It is the perfect spying device. Google and Apple and Facebook and AT&T are all using it to spy on you.
M: Is it significant they hacked Whatsapp and Signal? People thought those apps were the safe ones.
S: Those are. They're not hacking the apps. They're hacking the underlying operating system. It doesn't matter what encryption you use if someone reads the message before you encrypt it.
M: Should U.S. citizens worry that the CIA is invading their privacy?
S: No. The CIA, if they follow the law doesn't spy on us, it spies on foreigners. The problem is they're hoarding vulnerabilities that could make us safer. Instead of fixing them to make us all safer, they use them to make us all vulnerable. What should normal people do about it? I don’t know. What were they doing yesterday? Why should it change?
This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.