The NSA, Bruce Schneier, and the Bottom Line

Because one can never say enough about Bruce Schneier.

lojoco. "Bruce Schneier" Image. Geekz. http://geekz.co.uk/shop/store/show/schneier-sticker-0.html Downloaded 2014-01-26.

The NSA secretly inserting back doors into standards-based encryption algorithms and enforcing compromising security practices on US businesses has undoubtedly already had, and will continue to have, a negative impact on the bottom line of those businesses. US privacy laws are behind other competitive nations and this makes it difficult for US companies to upgrade the privacy standards of their data security policies to meet the needs of global customers. Legally enforced crippling of these security policies and technologies only further widens that gap, putting US businesses further in the lurch.

The undeniable fact of the matter is that any backdoor in any cryptosystem is available to the creator of the backdoor and to anyone else who figures out the backdoor is there. So even if one believes the NSA has a duty to protect US citizens by disabling security systems around their data and spying on them, one still has to admit that this opens US citizens up to being spied upon by clever foreign intelligence agencies and increasingly clever organized criminals getting into the cyber insecurity game.

Most tech folks and many politically inclined citizens at least sort of know who Bruce Schneier is, but in case they don't he's a famous cryptographer who wrote the book on applied cryptography (conveniently titled Applied Cryptography) and became internet-famous after the terrorist attacks of 2001-09-11 for criticizing the "security theater" that constituted the bulk of the federal government's domestic response. Predictably enough he's been all over the Snowden leaks like white on rice, including assisting Glenn Greenwald the lead Guardian journalist working with Snowden in working through the best practices of handling Snowden data and explaining the technical implications of the leaks in the Guardian:

Schneier writing for the Guardian:

Schneier's blog, a must read for anyone interested in technology, security, politics, or People Taking Things Seriously:


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