• (Exhibition)
  • (Information)
Bernhard Garnicnig
21 Mar 2014 - 03 Apr 2014

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It's been known for quite a while now that the U.S. intelligence community (I.C.), which includes the NSA, CIA etc, runs it's own suite of web apps, like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, of course on their private and secure networks.

These web applications have their own tech support, which you call for help using a kind of I.C. version of Skype. Their tech support barely runs any more efficiently than any other tech support hotline, you call and might or might not get an answer to your problem. Yet you'll find exceptional people among these system administrators answer phone calls. One of them was Edward Snowden.

It turns out that Edward Snowden has been a systems administrator and infrastructure analyst for another special web application: The intelligence communities own version of Snapchat, which much like it’s civilian version of the ephemeral photo messaging app, quickly became one of their most popular apps.

Why the CIA would make their own Snapchat? Back in the days, spies would get their instructions and would burn them after reading. I.C. Snapchat became the burn-after-reading app, praised for making any information or instructions - basically any evidence of communication - disappear after it has been read and acknowledged by the recipient.  

What this has to do with the Snowden leaks? Well there has been a lot of abuse of I.C. Snapchat. No, it wasn't only used by agents to send nudies across the tightly secured network. The real problem was the secsnapping, a practice that describes taking a snapshot of a top secret document or powerpoint slide that is then sent by one agent to the other. But this would not happen for reasons of communicating secret information itself, but only to show off what projects you were working on, what access level you obtained and what info you'd have seen. Basically it was used to represent your status among peers.    

And with Snowden being the "IT guy" for I.C. Snapchat, he had access to every secsnap ever sent out - which as we now know, he of course would all permanently save.  This is how Edward Snowden got access to so much of the data he leaked to the press afterwards.

(From Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything: Artifacts I)

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