NSA Spy Program Cost Taxpayers $100 Million and Was Overall Useless

· Andrew Orr · Link

Form 2015 to 2019 the National Security Agency (NSA) collected Americans’ domestic phone calls and texts. The program cost US$100 million but only one investigation was able to make use of that data.

Moreover, only twice during that four-year period did the program generate unique information that the F.B.I. did not already possess, said the study, which was produced by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and briefed to Congress on Tuesday.

“Based on one report, F.B.I. vetted an individual, but, after vetting, determined that no further action was warranted,” the report said. “The second report provided unique information about a telephone number, previously known to U.S. authorities, which led to the opening of a foreign intelligence investigation.”

NSA Publishes Threatening Letter Calling for Encryption Backdoors

· Andrew Orr · Link

Glenn S. Gerstell, general counsel for the National Security Agency (NSA) published a letter in the New York Times, writing about how a “digital revolution threatens to upend our entire national security infrastructure.” He thinks backdoors into encryption is one answer (of course he doesn’t use the word backdoor), as well as the agency collecting even more data from citizens. Read his letter by clicking the link below, then read this take by Nefarious Laboratories.

Make no mistake, this letter is a thinly-veiled threat to every major corporation around the globe: provide the U.S. government with access to all of your data or else, “there is another path, and it is the one taken by authoritarian regimes around the world”.

Governments Are Terrible at Securing Data

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image of locks to suggest security and encryption

It absolutely infuriates me when agencies like the FBI, and governments like Australia, the U.S., Germany, and more want us to break encryption or circumvent it with a back door. As Mathew Gault writes, they are completely inept at securing data. Even the NSA, which likes to think it’s the “world leader in cryptology” got hacked.

Regular phone and internet users remain vulnerable, forced to take individual protective measures, like a poor wage-worker without health insurance who’s told to secure her nest egg by cutting out morning lattes.

National Security Agency Releases Ghidra

· Andrew Orr · Link

The NSA has released its tool called Ghidra at the RSA Security Conference. It’s an open-source tool that helps security researchers examine malware code.

You can’t use Ghidra to hack devices; it’s instead a reverse engineering platform used to take “compiled,” deployed software and “decompile” it. In other words, it transforms the ones and zeros that computers understand back into a human-readable structure, logic, and set of commands that reveals what the software you churn through it does.

NSA Spying Program Has Allegedly Ended

· Andrew Orr · Link

The NSA spying program that analyzed the calls and texts of American citizens has allegedly been shut down.

Christopher Augustine, an N.S.A. spokesman, told The New York Times in January that agency officials were “carefully evaluating all aspects” of the Freedom Act program, and were discussing its future. Mr. Augustine made clear that the White House would make the final call about whether to ask Congress to extend the Freedom Act.

I hope this is actually true. Now we need the GCHQ to not spy on us either.

RIP John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, Deadhead, Poet, and Psychonaut

· Dave Hamilton · Editorial

John Perry Barlow passed away in his sleep on Tuesday at the age of 70. I would venture to say that most people reading this have had their lives touched by Barlow in one way or another, though it’s quite possible most of you don’t even recognize his name. His life is so much more than just the sum of its parts, and each of those parts would be a lifetime accomplishment for most of us.