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Planned US cyber warfare programme could hurt innocent countries - Snowden

Published on Aug 13, 2014 10:49 PM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A developing US cyber security programme would not only hunt down and halt potential computer attacks but also strike back without staff oversight, according to former US National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.

In an interview with WIRED magazine made public Wednesday, Snowden said the program - MonsterMind - could hurt countries caught in the middle as hackers could disguise the origin of their attacks by routing them through computers in other nations.

"These attacks can be spoofed," Snowden told the magazine."You could have someone sitting in China, for example, making it appear that one of these attacks is originating in Russia. And then we end up shooting back at a Russian hospital. What happens next?" It could also potentially start an accidental war, he said.

Snowden said that while other cyber warfare programmes also automatically detect and block hacker attacks, MonsterMind was a greater threat to privacy because it would need to access nearly all private communications coming into the United States from overseas in order to work. "If we're analysing all traffic flows, that means we have to be intercepting all traffic flows. That means violating the Fourth Amendment, seizing private communications without a warrant, without probable cause or even a suspicion of wrongdoing. For everyone, all the time," he told WIRED.

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