Friday, June 21, 2013

Quote of the Day

Bruce Schneier parses the Tech companies' denials of NSA cooperation:
A Skype executive denied last year in a blog post that recent changes in the way Skype operated were made at the behest of Microsoft to make snooping easier for law enforcement. It appears, however, that Skype figured out how to cooperate with the intelligence community before Microsoft took over the company, according to documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the N.S.A. One of the documents about the Prism program made public by Mr. Snowden says Skype joined Prism on Feb. 6, 2011.

Reread that Skype denial from last July, knowing that at the time the company knew that they were giving the NSA access to customer communications. Notice how it is precisely worded to be technically accurate, yet leave the reader with the wrong conclusion. This is where we are with all the tech companies right now; we can't trust their denials, just as we can't trust the NSA -- or the FBI -- when it denies programs, capabilities, or practices.
The lawyerly wording in all these denials is, how shall we say, strangely specific.  Each time they kick the can down the road, the trust they deserve shrinks.
LIAR, n. A lawyer with a roving commission.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary


Rabbit said...

Your appearance and talk on sqrl last night was great. Glad I got to hear it.

deadcenter said...

Snowden has talked about the capabilities of the systems in place; the NSA has talked about the safeguards in place to prevent someone from using those capabilities while phrasing their responses to make it sound like they don't have the capabilities of which Snowden has spoken. NSA has never said that Snowden is wrong or exaggerating the capabilities of the systems.