Latest posts by Alvin Bryan (see all)
- Millionaire Tyupkin Malware ATM Hackers May Come to US, India After Hitting Europe - October 23, 2014
- BitLicense Will Allow Bitcoin Spying in New York - October 22, 2014
- Australians are Fighting Data Retention Laws - October 22, 2014
Just a week ago, fifty cyber security experts got together and wrote an open letter to the US government. The contents were a protest by these encryption researchers and data security professionals. They are petitioning the Obama administration for reforms in the forceful NSA surveillance efforts that are destroying cyber security. This is not the first time that the government has been called out on the detrimental effects of mass surveillance. And not the first time the administration has been urged to press for reforms to protect Internet users.
Security Issues Surrounding NSA Data Gathering
The NSA is gathering, recording and processing huge amounts of user data every day. And they go for any type of data. This includes personal information, without concern for where it comes from or who it is about. Free speech is one security issue mentioned in the open letter. The invasive data gathering consistently threatens user privacy. This puts many outspoken journalists and activists in danger of discovery by the authoritarian regimes that they fight against. Many abuses including identity theft are also mentioned. Though the NSA may not be directly stealing users’ identities, they put the data at risk by decrypting and recording it.
It has already been revealed that the NSA has succeeded in pushing for the creation of backdoors into many databases. These databases contain huge amounts of user data that is supposedly protected by privacy policies. They milk these databases and in so doing create opportunity for cyber criminal elements to access the same data. This data was previously protected by passwords and encryption. But accessing the data through backdoors and decrypting it by impairing the encryption standards destroys its security.
US VPNs and Data Privacy
Some notable individuals who signed the open letter are top faculty of Harvard, MIT and Yale, and known authors. Some of the same have also advocated the use of US VPNs. US VPNs are top tools that they approve can help people fight against the uncompromising approach of the NSA to cyber snooping. The President has promised that the surveillance programs of the NSA will be modified. But so far his statements regarding the matter have done little to secure online privacy for users. And there was no mention of how the subversion of encryption standards would be dealt with.
Online privacy has been the major issue surrounding the NSA spying programs. Privacy advocates and tech companies continue to protest that the government is doing nothing to address the issue. The recent open letter focused on cyber security, but privacy was still underlined in their call for change in the spying programs. The NSA is making the whole system susceptible to attacks. They are inviting other individuals and agencies to infiltrate the systems that people depend on daily for data security and privacy.