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Prague-based media development worker from Poland with a journalistic background. Previously worked on digital issues in Brussels. Piqs about digital issues, digital rights, data protection, new trends in journalism and anything else that grabs my attention.
In 2017, visitors to the Central Intelligence Agency’s Twitter were treated with a flood of puppy images, including the story of Lulu, a black lab, who dropped out of the "puppy class" for bomb-sniffing dogs. More recently, CIA’s Twitter revealed how a former deputy director landed himself a role as an extra in the latest episode of Game of Thrones. And soon, the American spy service would be heading to Instagram. Doesn't the CIA have anything else better to do, you might wonder?
According to Edward Snowden, a former CIA and National Security Agency contractor who leaked thousands of classified files that revealed mass U.S government surveillance back in 2013, CIA is taking to social media as a means of trying to fix its public image.
“They get Twitter accounts. Instagram accounts (with) puppies and everything like that, because they want to be friendly. They want to be on your side,” said Snowden in last week's CYBER podcast.
The Snowden 2013 revelations indeed have taken a toll, turning public sentiment against American intelligence activities. In the aftermath, 53% of Americans disapproved of the government’s collection of telephone and internet data as part of anti-terrorism efforts, with 57% believing that it was unacceptable for the government to monitor the communications of U.S. citizens, according to the Pew Research Center.
The one-hour interview by Motherboard’s Ben Makuch is a wide-ranging discussion on a number of other topics too. Apart from zeroing in on the CIA’s social media presence, Snowden, who now lives in Russia also talks about his current life, Julian Assange’s arrest and indictment, the Mueller Report, and press freedom.