Citing NSA collaboration with foreign and domestic technology companies, a recent report published in The New York Times raises the specter than standard Internet encryption protocols may not be enough to protect information from the prying eyes of the government. The NSA, in an effort to thwart the growing strength of encryption protocols as the Internet developed, has (not surprisingly) sought to plant exploitable holes in these protocols. The extent of the damage is uncertain, but the rule of thumb should likely be that all electronic communication is accessible by the government.
The complicity of technology companies in the NSA’s efforts means that privacy agreements and other assurances of encryption strength are meaningless, particularly when the matter intersects with government interests. Secrecy surrounding these and other spying efforts, moreover, has all but destroyed the credibility of both the government and major technology corporations, whose fascist-style cooperation has taken a bite not only out of business but the trust of citizens. On the bright side for one technology segment, however, these revelations could drive greater interest in open-source software and standards, which enable all comers to examine code for the leavings of voyeuristic agencies like the NSA.
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