“US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden.
The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments.
The agencies, the documents reveal, have adopted a battery of methods in their systematic and ongoing assault on what they see as one of the biggest threats to their ability to access huge swathes of internet traffic – "the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet".
Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, the use of supercomputers to break encryption with "brute force", and – the most closely guarded secret of all – collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves.
Through these covert partnerships, the agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities – known as backdoors or trapdoors – into commercial encryption software.” Guardian, New York Times, ProPublica 5/9/13
Observant readers will recognise that the leaks are now being published simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic. Thanks to the heavy-handed threatening behaviour of our security services, the Guardian runs stories such as this from outside the UK. What an indictment.
As each disclosure hits the news-stands it becomes a game to see for how long the story can be ignored by major media organisations. Thankfully wheels are turning in other parts of the world. The EU debated the matter last week in the European Parliament - and they were not happy.
One MP in this country proudly told one of his constituents that he was unaware of all these revelations because he does not read the Guardian.
Nice to know our democracy is in such safe hands......
Now what do we need to get this story off the front pages?
How about a nice little war......?