NSA whistleblower Eric Snowden’s most recent revelations came to light through a joint report by investigative journalism non-profit ProPublica.org and the UK newspaper The Guardian. The revelations were the stuff of science fiction – the NSA could break the encryption and access almost all of the encrypted data flying around the internet. They learned how to break into “a major peer-to-peer voice and text communications system” most likely Skype or Apple’s FaceTime. They are working to break the encryption that will be used in the next generation of smartphones. They are decrypting the SSL connections which are supposed to keep e-mail and other communications on the internet private.
They’ve also worked covertly with tech companies to insert weaknesses into encryption software that allows them backdoor access to citizens’ information. They are actively working to establish human intelligence assets and even infiltrate the telecommunications industry not just here in America but across the globe.
In response to these leaks, the NSA has been very measured in its responses, but some private interests are exercising an extreme level of reticence to bait the NSA. One such company is Zazzle.com, a site which allows users to design custom T-shirts and also sell their designs on their webpage. One user created a shirt bearing the official NSA logo over the print message “The NSA/ The only part of the government that really listens.” Zazzle.com took down the shirt, not because the NSA asked but “out of an abundance of caution.”
So far by way of response, the NSA responded to ProPublica.org with a statement that admits that the NSA practices cryptology, but that the “specific and classified details” revealed in the article are a “roadmap” to enemy actors of the US to avoid their methods. Naturally, they remain silent about the specifics of the accusations.