Legal loophole: US offers no apologies for hacking internet encryptions

The US Director of National Intelligence has issued a statement in response to a report revealing that the National Security Agency, with help from international allies, secretly inserted backdoors into various encryption and internet security services.

Intelligence agencies in the US and United Kingdom have spent
millions to bribe technicians – perhaps even planting agents
inside telecommunication companies – in a bid to penetrate the
encryption used by hundreds of millions of people to protect
their privacy online.

The report detailing the intelligence agency’s efforts was
published Thursday by The Guardian, and is the latest result of
the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The office of James Clapper, director of US national
intelligence, has responded by saying the government would simply
not be doing its job if it did not use legally dubious techniques
to quietly monitor Americans’ everyday communications.

It should hardly be a surprise that our intelligence agencies
seek ways to counteract our adversaries’ use of encryption
,”
read the statement issued Friday. “Throughout history, nations
have used encryption to protect their secrets, and today,
terrorists, cyber-criminals, human traffickers and others also
use code to hide their activities
.”

Close readers may focus their attention on the statement’s
mention of “and others,” a loophole that conceivably
writes the government a blank check to spy on anyone it sees fit.

“I am the other because I do not trust my government in
general, or the people working for its security apparatus in
particular
,” wrote Ken White of the Popehat law and civil
liberties blog.

I am the other because I believe the security state and its
representatives habitually lie, both directly and by misleading
language, about the scope of their spying on us. I believe they
feel entitled to do so
,” he adds.

Among the representatives of the so-called “security state” is US
President Barack Obama, who again drew the ire of civil liberty
advocates this week when he appeared to admit that he lacks the
knowledge of what exactly the NSA is doing.

Obama participated in a press conference at the G20 summit in
which he was questioned about accusations from Brazil and Mexico
that the NSA has spied on their heads of state.

I mean, part of the problem here is we get these through the
press and then I’ve got to go back and find out what’s going on
with respect to these particular allegations
,” said President
Obama in St. Petersburg. I don’t subscribe to all these
newspapers, although I think the NSA does, now at
least
.”

Obama took time out of his G20 schedule to hold a closed doors
session with Brazil’s President Rousseff for nearly 30 minutes on
Thursday, to address the country’s outrage at allegations that
her communications with top members of her government had been
intercepted.

Republished from: RT