Internet Encryption Pretty Much Useless, New Snowden Papers Reveal

Internet encryption: If you think it’s keeping you safe from the National Security Agency (NSA), you’re dead wrong.

In news that is absolutely no surprise since whistleblower Edward Snowden first started issuing leaks, the government, specifically the NSA, worked behind Americans’ backs to establish “backdoors” that render most Internet encryption methods useless.

That means your email accounts, social media profiles, banking information, and more, are all readily available to NSA authorities whenever they decide they’d like to have a look, and according to a report from The New York Times, they don’t need a reason to check in on you.

(At least they think they don’t.)

According to the Times report, the US lost a “heated national debate in the 1990s about inserting into all encryption a government back door called ‘the Clipper Chip.'”

“They went and did it anyway, without telling anyone,” said Matthew D. Green, a cryptography researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

The Times noted that in one case, “after the government learned that a foreign intelligence target had ordered new computer hardware, the American manufacturer agreed to insert a back door into the product before it was shipped.”

NSA budget requests had also highlighted “partnerships with major telecommunications carriers to shape the global network to benefit other collection accesses,” or ensure greater ability to eavesdrop.

Microsoft was cited as one example. The tech giant reportedly “worked with company officials to get pre-encryption access to Microsoft’s most popular services, including Outlook e-mail, Skype Internet phone calls and chats, and SkyDrive, the company’s cloud storage service.”

If this report isn’t enough to make you realize who the country’s true enemies are — and seriously, if you’re fine with this, please give up your right to vote — then try to remember the NSA is the same organization spying on 75 percent of all Internet traffic without any supervision, including their significant others.

Short of turning your own heartbeat into a password, there’s little that can be done to protect you from your government. Luckily, someone’s working on that as we speak.

What are your thoughts on the news that Internet encryption is worthless?

[Image via The Guardian]

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