US, UK spy agencies crack encryption

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland.

American and British spy agencies have violated online privacy by cracking the encryption that secures communications including emails, banking transactions and phone conversations, documents show.

The newly leaked documents by US whistleblower Edward Snowden were published by The New York Times, ProPublica and The Guardian on Thursday.

The US National Security Agency and Britainâ„¢s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) used a variety of means such as supercomputers and secret court orders for setting encryption standards.

Å“The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that Internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments,” the Guardian reported.

The NSA is reportedly spending more than $250 million a year on a project, which “actively engages the US and foreign IT industries to covertly influence and/or overtly leverage their commercial products’ designs” to make them “exploitable.”

ProPublica said it decided to go ahead with the article because of its importance to the public.

“The story, we believe, is an important one. It shows that the expectations of millions of Internet users regarding the privacy of their electronic communications are mistaken,” ProPublica’s editors said.

Snowden earlier leaked confidential information that showed the NSA collects data of phone records and Internet communication of American citizens.

The former NSA contractor, who is charged with espionage in the United States, is currently staying in Russia. Snowden supplied reporters with 50,000 secret documents.

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Republished from: Press TV