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Government Businesses Privacy

How Silicon Valley Helped the NSA 163

theodp writes "The U.S. tech giants' pledge to up their privacy game in the wake of reports that all-your-data-belong-to-the-NSA rings a little hollow to Abraham Newman, who reminds us that such protections run counter to the business model and public policy agenda that tech companies have pursued for decades. 'For years,' writes Newman, 'U.S. information technology (IT) firms have actively backed weak privacy rules that let them collect massive amounts of personal data. The strategy enabled the companies to work their way into every corner of consumers' lives and gave them a competitive edge internationally. Those same policies, however, have come back to haunt IT firms. Lax rules created fertile ground for NSA snooping. In the wake of the surveillance scandals, as consumer confidence plummets, technology companies' economic futures are threatened.'"
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How Silicon Valley Helped the NSA

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  • Vote with your feet (Score:5, Informative)

    by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Monday November 11, 2013 @06:31AM (#45389821)
    Take your business elsewhere whenever possible. Only thing that will make companies sit up and pay attention is when their bottom line starts to be affected. Computer professionals advise non-techy business types on how best to protect sensitive company information against the massive industrial espionage spy network []. People may not care about their facebook page and personal email is being compromised, but they sure as hell care when their companies sensitive business information is put at risk...
  • Re:Strange (Score:4, Informative)

    by mrbluze ( 1034940 ) on Monday November 11, 2013 @06:40AM (#45389859) Journal
    When the telephone was invented, it was obvious to all and sundry that it was prone to eavesdropping. It's the case with all forms of communication. Privacy is never a given, it is something that has to be actively sought and maintained, like any other human "right". What is insulting is that companies are going out of their way to betray the customer. I am not thinking so much of software giants but Intel which forces you to relinquish your privacy with apparently no way to get around their backdoors.
  • Re:Strange (Score:4, Informative)

    by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Monday November 11, 2013 @09:16AM (#45390361)

    Not all email is sent in clear text. Some admins aren't clueless.

    For instance, my mail server communicates with many other mail servers using SSL, including when talking to other servers. Yahoo, Google, and all use TLS and upgrade to a secure connection on HELO. Likewise my mail servers REQUIRE SSL AND AUTHENTICATION for picking up mail or sending from our addresses. Include SPF in the mix and the only clear text version of the mail is sitting on my server hard drives and the client machines.

    I'm fairly confident the NSA hasn't gotten into my system yet, and they didn't fake our certificate chain since its an internally generated chain that no cert provider is in, just our own not network connected CA.

    Email can be secured with current technology and protocols. Easily.

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan