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July 2024



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The above is a good headline that should draw lots of readers. The article is revealing more detail of what was exposed by the recent hack of a US Government personnel database at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). It’s comprehensive and, without going into the details, the security of the database was extremely poor, despite decade old advice on fixing it – amazing, perhaps, in the post-Snowden world. And what was held in that database was more comprehensive than most realised. I quote:

Infidelity. Sexual fetishes. Drug abuse. Crushing debt. They’re the most intimate secrets of U.S. government workers. And now they’re in the hands of foreign hackers.

It was already being described as the worst hack of the U.S. government in history. And it just got much worse.

A senior U.S. official has confirmed that foreign hackers compromised the intimate personal details of an untold number of government workers. Likely included in the hackers’ haul: information about workers’ sexual partners, drug and alcohol abuse, debts, gambling compulsions, marital troubles, and any criminal activity.

Those details, which are now presumed to be in the hands of Chinese spies, are found in the so-called “adjudication information” that U.S. investigators compile on government employees and contractors who are applying for security clearances. The exposure suggests that the massive computer breach at the Office of Personnel Management is more significant and potentially damaging to national security than officials have previously said.

Three former U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast that the adjudication information would effectively provide dossiers on current and former government employees, as well as contractors. It gives foreign intelligence agencies a roadmap for finding people with access to the government’s most highly classified secrets.

Obama administration officials had previously acknowledged the breach of information that applicants voluntarily disclose on a routine questionnaire, called Standard Form 86, but the theft of the more detailed and wide-ranging adjudication information appears to have gone overlooked.

End of quote.

It’s difficult to understand the real agendas behind such a hack when, after you peel the onion far enough, all governments are owned and controlled by the same forces. Nevertheless, these very personal details (I’m not clear why such detail is required for government employment in the first place) are in the hands of others and, perhaps, now very public. For me, the issue is how this data can be used for blackmail or coercion, since these things are considered “precious” in our world.

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