The level, reach, and breadth of NSA surveillance activities, which were originally brought to the surface by Edward Snowden, undoubtedly opened the eyes of many. As a result, the public over the past three years has learned an awful lot about the NSA’s capabilities and some of the more clever approaches they incorporate when conducting surveillance.
Discussions about the U.S. government’s need for breaking encryption have intensified following the mid-November attacks in Paris. Law enforcement agencies including the FBI and politicians have challenged tech leaders from Silicon Valley to find ways to include backdoors in encrypted products. That way, surveillance operations targeting potential terror suspects might have a better chance of successfully intercepting relevant communication.
Tech leaders, meanwhile, have stood firm against crippling encryption with backdoors, with Apple and Tim Cook at the forefront of this argument. That doesn’t mean tech companies unwilling to help intelligence agencies address terrorist threats – but they’ll just do it differently for the time being.
Given the various recent terrorist attacks, it’s no wonder that hackers, cybersecurity, encryption and surveillance are all major topics of this year’s presidential campaign. Encryption was on the table during the sixth Republican debate on Thursday night, with Jeb Bush proposing a solution for guarding the American people that seems to be taken out of a George Orwell novel. More →
No one will ever accuse the National Security Agency of being champions of privacy. But General Michael Hayden, a former Director of the NSA, does see some value in preserving secure end-to-end encryption on the web without giving government agencies their own “backdoors” they can use to break it in the name of intelligence gathering. Per CNN, Hayden told a cybersecurity conference in Florida this week that breaking encryption would not make Americans safer even if encrypted communications do pose new challenges for intelligence and law enforcement agencies. More →
Though Edward Snowden’s first revelations regarding NSA surveillance surfaced more than two years ago, government surveillance remains a hot-button and controversial topic because we’re still learning about the full extent of spy agencies’ tracking and eavesdropping capabilities.
The latest news surrounding NSA, and in a broader sense – governmental surveillance, comes from a fascinating new report from The Intercept which details and catalogs an extensive list of devices the military and U.S. government agencies use to listen in on cell phone conversations, jam a phone, and even track individual user locations. Some devices, a few of which are small enough to be carried in a backpack or even on someone’s person, can track a target’s location even when they’re not making a call.
The catalog itself, which was provided to The Intercept by a source within the intelligence community, lists out dozens of devices used to keep tabs on targets. While some devices are purportedly for military-only use, others are reportedly already being used by local police forces across various parts of the country.
Are you looking for ways to protect your privacy while browsing the web? Are you trying to learn how to use Tor, the browser that anonymizes your Internet traffic? Are you interested in ditching Windows for something that’s more privacy-friendly? The good news is that there are ways to do that. The bad news is that this sort of online behavior apparently triggers NSA spying, especially if you’re a foreigner. More →
The NSA and other Western spy agencies came under intense scrutiny following the massive Snowden leaks that revealed their tremendous powers when it comes to collecting increasing amounts of personal data. And while the U.S. government had to take steps to try to limit the NSA’s reach following these revelations, it turns out that the intelligence agency can bypass existing laws and still collect plenty of data – such as email – even though it’s not supposed to be legal
The horrendous November 13th attacks on Paris are exactly what intelligence agencies have told us all along: Something bad will happen because they can’t conduct massive surveillance operations in light of the Snowden revelations, and because more products and online services offer end-to-end encryption that can’t be tapped into.
The NSA and all its international partners might be right about encryption, but at the same time, they’re doing a poor job of selling it to the public. It’s all a huge PR mess. More →
Some Edward Snowden leaks have revealed that the NSA and other intelligence agencies can break encryption barriers for mass surveillance purposes. It has been theorized that a flaw in encryption used by many Internet services lets the spy agency decrypt HTTPS, SSH, and VPN traffic, and a new paper seems to prove that.
Indeed, a massive effort comparable to the attempts of breaking the German Enigma coding machine during the World War II seems to have given the NSA the tools required to break trillions of secure connections. More →
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush — or just “Jeb!” as he’s called in his campaign signs — probably won’t win the endorsement of the Electronic Frontier Foundation given his positions on tech policy. In fact, we can’t imagine many Silicon Valley types are pleased with Jeb’s latest declarations this week that as president he’ll kill net neutrality rules while at the same time bulking up the data collection powers of the National Security Agency. More →
The National Security Agency (NSA) has a bunch of sophisticated tools at its disposal to conduct massive data collection operations all in the name of doing good – and that’s definitely something you’d want from your intelligence agencies. Ironically, the NSA is already worried about the advanced computers that might be available to humans in the not so distant future, which could be used by hackers to break the complex cryptography that makes possible encryption. More →
Spy agencies like the NSA and many others aren’t the only ones able to bug your calls and text messages, a new investigation shows. It turns out that anyone with the right equipment and know-how can tap into a carrier’s phone network to access calls and text messages for without the target’s knowledge. More →
For decades, AT&T actively helped the NSA engage in widespread surveillance on both phone calls and Internet traffic. Citing documents made available by former NSA employee Edward Snowden, The New York Times and ProPublica both report that AT&T and the NSA have long shared a working relationship that is much closer than most people previously imagined.
In what one classified document termed a “highly collaborative” relationship, AT&T employed a number of varying methods to help the NSA acquire an incomprehensible amount of data.