Saturday, August 9, 2014

Email Giants Unite to Thwart Government Snooping


By now it is painfully apparent that there will be no legitimate government oversight of the NSA Stasi. There are now over a years worth of stories based on the documents procured by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that show the culture of contempt towards the privacy of law-abiding Americans that exists at the agency. Rather than engage in working  to implement serious reforms that limit NSA programs to their stated purpose of tracking of suspected terrorists, there are only attempts to further erect a firewall around the NSA.  Choosing to engage in demagoguery and obfuscation rather than to correct the problems order to protect privacy rights, the Obama administration has only doubled down. The NSA continues to be allowed to spy on everyone with complete impunity and nothing is going to be done about it by congress outside of cosmetic changes. The corrupt media has already moved on to bigger and better things like the latest Kardashian sighting and the Oscar Pistorius endgame along with shilling for wars while the surveillance machine continues to metastasize like a cancer through what is supposed to be a free society.

Despite the Obama regime's complete disregard towards the long-term interests of U.S. tech businesses - they will be the most affected by NSA spying in terms of lost future revenue - they represent our best hope at fighting back. It is greatly encouraging to see the news that internet giants Google and Yahoo have just announced that they are joining forces to create a secure email system. According to a story in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Yahoo and Google Plot Spy-Free Emails”:

Yahoo Inc. said Thursday it will join an effort by rival Google Inc. to create a secure email system by next year that could make it nearly impossible for hackers or government officials to read users' messages. Even the email providers themselves won't be able to decrypt messages.

If the companies are successful, it would mark a first step in bringing advanced privacy technology to a widely used consumer service. It is also a stark example of how tech giants are rethinking their business plans after Edward Snowden began leaking secrets from the National Security Agency last year. Until February, Yahoo didn't have a C-suite level executive dedicated to information security.
Yahoo's move comes as large technology companies put increased emphasis on warding off government spies and hackers. Google on Thursday announced encrypted websites now will fare better in its search results. Microsoft Corp. recently unsuccessfully fought a U.S. government request for data stored in Ireland.

The WSJ story, by Danny Yadron goes on to quote cyber-security expert Bruce Schneier as saying that such pushback against the government spying will represent a huge blow to Big Brother.  Schneier states that “"What's going to happen when the FBI goes to Google or Yahoo and says, 'I want the email from this guy,' and Google or Yahoo says, 'We can't give it to you?'" I am sure that this is really going to go over well with the NSA Stasi and it’s government enablers.

This is great news for all Americans who have no real elected representation and therefore no voice which becomes as becomes more obvious by the day. The Fourth Amendment is pretty clear when it comes to the power of the government to conduct warrantless surveillance:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That the Founding Fathers could not possibly have envisioned the technologically advanced United States of the 21ST century is not the point. We still at least in theory have the right to be free of such bulk searches under what amounts to a general warrant – that is unless we are all suspected “terrorists” now.