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Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

Posted Jul 25, 2013 0:36 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313)
In reply to: Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET) by tialaramex
Parent article: Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

the fact that the NSA is a spy organization is not news.

but guess what, there isn't a country in the world that doesn't have it's own version.

And of course it's mission is to spy on foreigners, that's the mission of almost every spy agency in the world (there are a handful that are explicitly created to do internal spying, but far fewer of those)

There are laws explicitly prohibiting the NSA from doing internal spying. No, it's no surprise that these laws have been broken at some point (organizations are made of people, people are not perfect, at some point, someone will abuse their power)

However, what is surprising is the fact that the government has created a secret interpretation of the law that they claim says that they are allowed to do this.

There is a lot of disagreement on if this is really legal or not, and there are a good number of calls to make it explicitly illegal again, overriding these 'secret interpretations' of the law.

Will this stop all abuse? Of course not!

By the way, for proof that other countries have similar problems, just look at the Kim Dotcom case. There it was the New Zealand spy agency, and there are laws prohibiting them from going after permanent residents (like Dotcom), and that has given the government a black eye. Unfortunately, the last I heard is that they are now working to change the law to make such internal spying legal.


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Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

Posted Jul 25, 2013 3:11 UTC (Thu) by wahern (subscriber, #37304) [Link]

"it's mission is to spy on foreigners"

That was the case throughout the 1980s and 1990s, after the Church Committee hearings in the 1970s caught them spying on Americans. But it's abundantly clear that President Bush tore down those walls, so we're back at square one.

The NSA absolutely spies internally. Even before the Snowden leaks it was already known that NSA trawling is how the Feds caught Governor Elliot Spitzer paying prostitutes.

And as far as I know there are no laws that prevent the NSA from spying internally. You're thinking of the CIA. The NSA is part of the Department of Defense, which is why it's always headed by a general.

Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

Posted Jul 25, 2013 3:50 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

The military is under it's own set of restrictions against being used for domestic law enforcement

Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

Posted Jul 25, 2013 4:01 UTC (Thu) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

And you don't think it's naïve to imagine that they will break those restrictions, just like the NSA broke its own?

Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys (CNET)

Posted Jul 25, 2013 4:47 UTC (Thu) by wahern (subscriber, #37304) [Link]

But the NSA doesn't do law enforcement. They do intelligence. They then hand the intelligence off to the FBI to do the enforcement part.

Surprising, really?

Posted Jul 27, 2013 11:16 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

However, what is surprising is the fact that the government has created a secret interpretation of the law that they claim says that they are allowed to do this.
Really? When there are secret laws, secret courts and secret orders, why do you think the secrecy is needed at all?

Hint: the terrorists don't really care about the number of FISA orders granted, or about broad orders that request data from telecoms; they know very well that electronic communications can (and will) be intercepted. Proof by reductio ad absurdum: otherwise they would be incarcerated by now. However, the general populace do care about these small details, as seen in the response to Snowden's revelations.

Surprising, really?

Posted Jul 28, 2013 15:38 UTC (Sun) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

The high-security world can be quite insane, Dr. Strangelove "no fighting in the war room" levels of insane, with multiple levels of pretending ignorance of things that everyone knows full well, misdirection, etc. The funny thing is that during the cold war, each side had largely penetrated the other with moles so much of the security practice amounted to kabuki theatre because it was all pretend secrecy any way.

I think a lot of secrecy practice is because the participants think they are cool, real operators, the more security they practice and to prevent embarrassment when they screw up. "Saving Lives(tm)" is pretty far down on the list, so are "We The People".

Surprising, really?

Posted Jul 29, 2013 16:10 UTC (Mon) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

There must exist some counterpoint to this madness. Usually it lies in the participants' ability to experience shame of themselves, but when it fails there must be some higher court (of the public variety which admittedly is not as cool as a "secret court") that sets things straight.


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