On Tuesday morning, Wikileaks released a slew of documents which, among other things, revealed many of the CIA’s questionable spying techniques implemented on U.S. citizens – one of which was the use of so-called Smart TVs as listening devices.
In a leak that is possibly bigger than the one released by Snowden in 2013, the trove of more than 8,000 documents revealed the covert and nefarious ways that the CIA is able to hack into and misuse technology to spy on whomever they wish.
Among the list of blatant violations and hacks was the report that a certain type of Smart TV could be easily transformed into a listening device to be used by the CIA. The CIA views Smart TVs as a great outlet for spying because they are placed right in a person’s home in their living room or bedroom.
A CIA program called “Weeping Angel” reportedly handed access to Samsung Smart TVs to the CIA’s hackers, enabling them to use the televisions as a listening device even when the TV appeared to be in off-mode. Though the report only referred to Samsung televisions, The Intercept has alleged that any type of Smart TV could fall prey to the CIA’s use.
The report also said that Apple IPhones were vulnerable, as well as other smartphones. According to the leaks, the CIA currently has a special division devoted to hacking, the Center for Cyber Intelligence, that is a substantially growing organization apparently set on rivaling the overreach of the NSA.
Most of the information revealed in the leaks shouldn’t surprise any healthily suspicious American, but to have such overt actions confirmed by these reports is unsettling. The portion of intel relating to Smart TVs as listening devices is just one small part of the massive trove of leaked documents.