Update: It has been over 8 years since I wrote this post and since then Jacob Applebaum has been credibly accused by several people in cryptography circles of multiple instance of sexual abuse and deeply troubling manipulation, threats, and blackmail. I still think the subject of this post deserves attention which is why I’m not pulling it down, but I’d like to highlight how disappointing it is to discover that people in the some most important walks of public life abuse the trust and reputation they earned to prey on innocent victims who then have to face the insurmountable task of denouncing a publicly beloved private monster like Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby.
You can find more information about the credible allegations that led to Jacob Applebaum’s exclusion of the Tor project and many other cryptography-related communities in this Daily Dot piece
If you’re technologically savvy, there’s no doubt you’ve been watching the information being released about the myriad of NSA intelligence collection programs.
I don’t think I’m qualified to comment on their extent, legality, or even if I know what to think of them.
However, I think you should watch this chilling presentation by Jacob Applebaum at the Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany today.
Yes, you should spend an hour watching this. But if you chose not to, let me boil it down for you: an American governmental agency mandated by the Congress of the United States of America has been systematically subverting and sabotaging security protocols designed and manufactured by foreign and American companies.
This means that instead of reporting and encouraging American companies to fix extremely serious security vulnerabilities that put US businesses and private individual at risk of corporate espionage or privacy invasion by anyone — terrorist groups, foreign governments, criminals, hackers, competitors — the NSA has been subverting these security vulnerabilities to further its own goal: communication omniscience.
I believe in democracy, freedom of speech, and the privacy of all law-abiding citizen. The NSA doesn’t, and nothing stands in their way.
The German newspaper Der Spiegel has more about these revelations in a multi-part piece titled Inside TAO.