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Andrew figura
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Andrew figura commented on a post on Blogger.
Nice.. very Apple inspired I see! Maybe it's a tribute :)

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Dope!

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This was glossed over in about 2 seconds on the morning news so they could go into a prolonged discussion about how good Payton Manning is at throwing a football; so in case you missed it, here's probably the biggest news to date on the NSA: they've built backdoors into many (all?) encryption technologies used on the Internet! Spying on your phone calls and emails - deep down I think we all kind of knew that was happening. But this is far more insidious. Let me clarify.

When I, or any other software engineer, makes a program that communicates sensitive data over a network (including the Internet), we generally encrypt that data using one of several widely available cryptographic algorithms, so that if someone is watching it as it goes over the wire, they won't be able to see what is being sent. You make use of this technology all the time and don't realize it - any time you do online banking, shopping, or anything that uses SSL, you're making use of encrypted communications. The algorithms behind this encryption are, in and of themselves, highly secure. However, virtually nobody writes the implementation of those algorithms from scratch. Instead, programmers use predefined libraries that are provided by the company that makes their software development environment/language. For example, I program in .NET, and thus use the system.security.cryptography namespace that Microsoft provides with Visual Studio.

What the NSA has done is secretly compel the companies that make these libraries (e.g. Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc.) to leave backdoors open that they can use to decrypt anything that programmers have tried to encrypt. In practical terms, this means that when you buy a book on Amazon.com, no one can steal the credit card number you give them... except the United States Government. Any email communications, banking records, medical records, commerce data, passwords, encrypted files... basically anything that you thought was safe on the Internet, the NSA can see if they want. 

This is a major deal for two reasons: 1.) A backdoor is a backdoor is a backdoor. Just because it was designed for the NSA, doesn't mean someone else can't figure out how to gain access to it. Imagine if one hacker suddenly figured out how to read every credit card number that was transmitted over the Internet. Faith in the system would immediately vanish, and modern telecommunications - the greatest advancement in human culture since the industrial revolution - would collapse. And 2.) Despite how much they may think they need this power to spy on terrorists, the United States Government does not own, nor are they legally allowed to regulate, the entire Internet. The day that a single government is granted that kind of power is the day that every other nation's sovereignty is revoked. What the NSA has essentially done here is to declare war on the Internet.

I can not stress enough what a huge deal this is. Rebellions have been launched in this country for much less than this. The NSA has violated every last shred of trust that the people of this country have placed in it. It is an evil organization that must be stopped. Please write your representatives and demand changes in the leadership of the NSA, and only support political candidates that understand that we cannot sacrifice everything for a little (false) sense of security. And if your elected leaders won't support you, kick them out and vote in new ones! Or better yet, run for office yourself! The entire point of representative democracy is that We The People have to be complicit in our own undoing at the hands of our government. Let's agree not to let them do this to us.

#NSA   #spyingoncitizens  +Gary Johnson 

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