President Obama’s speech responding to mounting public concern over domestic spying was disappointing. What was erroneously billed as reforms was essentially window dressing, cosmetic changes which do little to allay fears of the massive invasion of privacy.
Bowing to pressure from the NSA, President Obama endorsed its actions and punted the custodian issue to a largely dysfunctional Congress. Billions of tax dollars have been squirreled away by the NSA in creating a huge database of largely redundant data which makes us less safe as a nation. The NSA continues to download every dial, tweet and text message of innocent Americans and maintains a tight grip on the world’s digital pipelines. It paid millions of dollars to RSA, a major encryption firm, to incorporate a deliberately weakened algorithm into some of its products, giving the government a “back door” to capture whatever it wanted. Encryption standards used to protect banking, and all other electronic transactions have been pierced which dramatically increases the potential for abuse.
So what’s next? Those with deep pockets will be able to pay hefty fees to the spy agency for confidential information, rendering insider trading obsolete. The giant Internet companies who were paid millions of access fees are now crying foul because they are losing billions of dollars in overseas business. As Dan Kaminsky, a security researcher and chief scientist at White Ops, an antifraud company recently stated, “when your products have been intentionally flawed in the support of intelligence missions, don’t expect people to buy them.”