coming soon: the police state

Bruce Schneier on the NSA:

The NSA’s actions are making us all less safe. They’re not just spying on the bad guys, they’re deliberately weakening Internet security for everyone—including the good guys. It’s sheer folly to believe that only the NSA can exploit the vulnerabilities they create. Additionally, by eavesdropping on all Americans, they’re building the technical infrastructure for a police state.

We’re not there yet, but already we’ve learned that both the DEA and the IRS use NSA surveillance data in prosecutions and then lie about it in court. Power without accountability or oversight is dangerous to society at a very fundamental level.

I don’t really think we’ll turn into a police state. The US system is too robust for that, and even amidst the crackdown on whistleblowers–sanctioned by the Obama administration–there are a myriad of ways for people to blow the whistle and expose treasure troves of documents.

But I also didn’t think the NSA was purposefully subverting encryption and planting backdoors in commercial software. Only a few months ago that would have been conspiracy theory junk. Now it turns out to be fact, or at least highly probable.

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