The Encrypted Internet: The Security Effects of Edward Snowden

Edward_Snowden_NSA_whistleblower_thumb The Encrypted Internet: The Security Effects of Edward Snowden

Regardless of how individuals may feel about Edward Snowden and the information that he leaked about the surveillance that the NSA was doing; the results of what he provided is going to be a tipping point in how the Internet handles communication going forward.

The NSA has confirmed that it doesn’t intentionally collect information on innocent individuals, domestically or internationally. The NSA’s version of surveillance is that they have a watch list— if for some reason, you just happen to punch in the wrong email address, or the wrong phone number; all of a sudden you’re going to become a person of interest and everything that you do over the Internet is going to be under surveillance.

I honestly can’t think of one person who would enjoy everything that they do online being placed under a microscope or placed under NSA surveillance; or even find it acceptable when no crime has been committed. But I think everyone can thank Edward Snowden at this point because everyone has become acutely aware that pretty much any and all electronic communications, even remotely attached to the United States, is being monitored and should be considered under surveillance.

It’s unlikely that a majority of people would consider a pirate as an ally, but that’s what the Pirate Bay website aims to do. The Pirate Bay website has released Firefox-based web browser called PirateBrowser it has the ability to  provide anonymity to data connections; routing traffic through multiple proxies around the world. Some might say that this browser is for people who want to use it strictly for piracy. I say this browser is going to be a step in the right direction for protecting people from being surveyed and tracked while online.

Some web browsers have the ability for adding a plug-in that encrypts all traffic; or at least gives the ability to encrypt most of their Internet traffic, but I suspect that over the next coming months, there’s going to be more and more solutions/plug-ins for browsers that allow people to encrypt every level of their web browsing.

Right after it was revealed that Bing and Google were participating with the NSA over keywords and surveillance; this website gives visitors the ability to do Internet web searches anonymously. The NSA was reporting that it was concerned that people were using this Internet search engine so much and so rapidly just after the announcement of the NSA using a program called PRISM. The NSA should be concerned because their ability to monitor and track everything that people are doing is being taken away.

Just recently the owner of decided to shutdown of service completely because the government came to it basically saying that we want access to all of your encrypted emails; we want to read everything that’s available in everything that comes through your servers. the owner only had two choices; give the government complete access to all the emails are flowing through his email server or face going to jail as a conspirator against the United States. Basically saying that he was assisting the terrorists/bad guys.

If you take the time to watch the above video, you see that the owner is having a terrible time with having to curtail everything he says about what the US government is trying to do with his service.

But one of the most interesting comments about this video [towards the end] is that LavaBit owner clearly says that any electronic communications that you’re sending, you need to assume is being monitored.

Taking into account the level of information that Edward Snowden has provided, what the NSA has done, and the links to which the United States government is going to [with LavaBit] to have access to private communications; I think were going to start seeing a lot more encrypted communications on web browsers, email, instant messengers— virtually any form of electronic communication over the Internet.

A good example of that statement is that Kim Dotcom, from Megaupload, is launching an encrypted email service. Users of MegaUpload will remember that that service was raided illegally, the service shutdown, and all the data was confiscated. Kim Dotcom was arrested and placed in jail, but was ultimately released and now has a new cloud service called Mega. But with Mega, everything is encrypted, the customer is the only person that has the decryption code/password. Mega is a cloud service that stores information for their customers, and because the information is encrypted, even Mega doesn’t know what’s being stored on their servers. Kim Dotcom is going to be using this as a weapon towards the United States authorities and to provide secure communications for people who want private email.

It’ll be interesting also to see if services like Skype lose a certain percentage of their users because of documents published from the NSA indicating that they can essentially tap Skype chats and video conversations. If Skype is not willing to stand up and certify and guarantee that conversations made with their service are 100% private; there’s no need for anyone to continue using their service.

When everyone had a home phone, there was a reasonable amount of privacy expected. Laws were put in place so that phone lines could not be tapped unless a warrant was issued. Somehow, in this day and age, the United States government/NSA has deemed that the Internet is just an open room with a bunch of people talking and they have every right to walk into that room and record everything that’s happening. They feel that it’s their right in their privilege to build to listen to everything that’s happening, to place innocent people under surveillance and force honest business owners to comply with surveillance laws that are unjust [or go out of business].

You can respect Edward Snowden what he did or you can despise him, but the result of what he did for a lot of people to re-examine how they communicate and what they post online. And when you take in the context that the NSA lied about the full scope of what they were doing and then you take into account that senators like John McCain say that people don’t trust the government and people consider Edward Snowden as some kind of Jason Bourne character; there’s a clear disconnect between what the government is doing and what the people want.


Thank you,
Larry Henry Jr.

…via Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.5

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