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Edward Snowden  (Source:
Snowden is releasing more details about the NSA's tactics

The National Security Agency (NSA) was called out by its former contractor -- Edward Snowden -- for its various efforts to spy on American citizens and abroad. Now, Snowden has leaked new details about the NSA's ability to tap into communications and even bypass almost any encryption.

According to an article by The New York Times, Snowden revealed that the NSA will go to far lengths to subvert most types of encryption, including court orders, supercomputers, technical stunts and even by working with tech companies to gain back-door access to security methods. 

For instance, both American and British spy agencies pushed to gain back-door access to tech giants like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Microsoft. This went on for at least three years, and by 2012, Government Communications Headquarters had created new access opportunities with Google.

An international standards group had a fatal security flaw pushed into it by the NSA.
Microsoft engineers found the flaw in 2007. 

Snowden went on to say that there is even a small group of intelligence officials around the globe that have full access to decoding technologies. This is a group of analysts from the Five Eyes, which consists of the NSA and its equivalents in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

However, Snowden did say that "strong crypto systems" couldn’t be decoded by the NSA. 

To top it off, Snowden said that the NSA spends about $250 million USD to diminish international encryption standards (as well as products) so that it can decode what it wants. The NSA has also said, according to Snowden, that decrypting messages from Syria and al-Qaeda leaders are critical for national security. 

Edward Snowden uncovered the spying methods used by U.S. intelligence agencies earlier this year, which included collecting data from phones. This was used to fight terrorist attacks, but the public feared for their privacy after such revelations.

Last month, reports said that the NSA admitted to touching 1.6 percent of total globe Web traffic. Its technique was to filter data after harvesting it, which led to over-collection on a major scale. 

Days later, an internal audit showed that the NSA broke the law nearly 3,000 times from 2011 to 2012. More specifically, the May 2012 audit revealed that the NSA had abused its power to either accidentally or intentionally spy on Americans and green card holders 2,997 times in that time period. 

Source: The New York Times

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RE: Correct me if i am wrong
By ebakke on 9/9/2013 2:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
We have possessed nukes for almost 70 years why haven't they been abused? You have a knife in your kitchen left unchecked how can we trust you won't stab someone
Those are two terrible arguments. Using a nuclear weapon to decimate hundreds of thousands of people is nothing close to persecuting a single (in all likelihood, relatively unknown) person.

Individuals having weapons, again is not comparable. For one, we've granted the government extraordinary (and enormous) power over other individuals. We have given the government a monopoly on force. We give them the power to create the laws, arrest, detain, and even kill citizens in the name of the public good. Individuals don't have those powers. I can't declare an action of yours illegal, then attempt to arrest you, and lawfully kill you if you forcefully resist. As the saying goes, "with great power comes great responsibility." Government has exceptional power granted to it, and thus has an exceptional burden to use it responsibly. And let's not forget, governments throughout all of human history, have an absolutely horrendous track record of abusing their power, and harming (if not outright killing) millions of people.

Sorry that's a nonsense argument and again lacks an understanding of where US Government power is derived.
If you're going to give us the whole "if you don't like it, change it! vote for someone else!" argument, spare me. I used to live in that fantasy land too. Problem is, I'm one voice. You're one voice. When you're in the minority, it doesn't matter what your beliefs are; the majority wins. The US government is immense, and has enormous power. Those who currently have power (judges, legislators, bureaucrats) want to keep it. Those who currently are employed by an ever growing bureaucracy want to keep their jobs. Those who are indirectly employed by the government (eg, military contractors) want to keep their jobs. The whole system is setup to keep this machine running, exactly as it is.

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