Hired to surveil on the internet

Internet Surveillance       

Moxie Marlinspike is a cyber-security expert based in San Francisco, who is identified as the chief technology officer and co-founder of Whisper Systems, which produces privacy and security software applications.   In May 2013  Marlinspike detailed how he had been contacted via email by an employee of a Saudi Arabian telecommunication company, who was seeking his help in setting up a surveillance program at the behest of Saudi regulators. The program was intended to monitor communications on Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber, and Line (the latter allow users to make calls and send texts).

According to Marlinspike, the telecom employee sent along some design documents suggesting tactics such as “compelling a [certificate authority] in the jurisdiction of the UAE or Saudi Arabia to produce SSL certificates that they could use for interception” and “purchasing SSL vulnerabilities or other exploits .”

After asking some questions designed to get more clarification about the program, Marlinspike declined to help set it up. According to Marlinspike, the person who had contacted him then explained that Saudi Arabia was trying to respond to an ongoing terrorist threat, and added, “That’s why I took this and I seek your help. If you are not interested than [sic] maybe you are helping those who curb the freedom with their brutal activities.”

According to many world-wide sources, the kind of surveillance proposed by the Saudi Arabian telecom is “currently happening everywhere”:

Over the past year there has been an ongoing debate in the security community about exploit sales. For the most part, the conversation has focused on legality and whether exploit sales should be regulated. I think the more interesting question is about culture: what do we in the hacker community value and prioritize, and what is the type of behavior that we want to encourage?

Please consider the following questions relating to the above ethical issue:


1. Assuming that all the details of Marlinspike’s account are correct, did Marlinspike act ethically in rejecting the request from the telecom?  Why, or why not?

2. Would your answer change if he had been approached with a similar request not by a Saudi Arabian telecom but by the government of a democratically elected country? By a U.S. ally? By the U.S. government? (Marlinspike writes that “[t]here are even explicitly patriotic hackers who suggest that their exploit sales are necessary for the good of the nation, seeing themselves as protagonists in a global struggle for the defense of freedom….”)

3. What, if anything, should Marlinspike have done differently?   Why?

4. Marlinspike writes,

If I’m really honest with myself, … there was something fun about an insecure Internet [in the past], particularly since that insecurity predominantly tended to be leveraged by a class of people that I generally liked against a class of people that I generally disliked. … Somewhere between then and now, however, there was an inflection point. It’s hard to say exactly when it happened, but these days, the insecurity of the Internet is now more predominantly leveraged by people that I dislike against people that I like. More often than not, that’s by governments against people.

     Do you agree with his assessment? If so, what role should software engineers/developers/hackers play in this new environment?

These scenarios are filled with small details that you must take into account in writing up your response. Be sure to focus on those details and on the specific objective you are given. You cannot change the details or pretend that they don’t exist when responding to the scenario. What is described, with all its caveats, is the situation in which you find yourself.  Take your time. Think through all the variables. You cannot change the situation as it is described. So be careful to make sure that you haven’t ignored any of the particulars in the situation’s description. Within the parameters of the situation at hand, try to predict what the different possible actions you might take could result in and pick your solution. Write up your best thinking.

No Plagiarism.

Custom Papers Pro
Calculate your paper price
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why Work with Us

Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers

We always make sure that writers follow all your instructions precisely. You can choose your academic level: high school, college/university or professional, and we will assign a writer who has a respective degree.

Professional and Experienced Academic Writers

We have a team of professional writers with experience in academic and business writing. Many are native speakers and able to perform any task for which you need help.

Free Unlimited Revisions

If you think we missed something, send your order for a free revision. You have 10 days to submit the order for review after you have received the final document. You can do this yourself after logging into your personal account or by contacting our support.

Prompt Delivery and 100% Money-Back-Guarantee

All papers are always delivered on time. In case we need more time to master your paper, we may contact you regarding the deadline extension. In case you cannot provide us with more time, a 100% refund is guaranteed.

Original & Confidential

We use several writing tools checks to ensure that all documents you receive are free from plagiarism. Our editors carefully review all quotations in the text. We also promise maximum confidentiality in all of our services.

24/7 Customer Support

Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

No need to work on your paper at night. Sleep tight, we will cover your back. We offer all kinds of writing services.


Essay Writing Service

No matter what kind of academic paper you need and how urgent you need it, you are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper at an affordable price. We take care of all your paper needs and give a 24/7 customer care support system.


Admission Essays & Business Writing Help

An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.


Editing Support

Our academic writers and editors make the necessary changes to your paper so that it is polished. We also format your document by correctly quoting the sources and creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.


Revision Support

If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.