It’s not new news that US-Agencies are wiretapping electronic communication on a vast scale. More and more companies like Facebook, Google, and the like have been questioning the approaches since they involve weakened security standards and backdoors to encrypted data. Now there is news about the Internet- and Telecom-Provider AT&T helping the NSA to spy on e-mails and other electronic communication. Internal documents from the NSA describe the cooperation with the company as “highly collaborative” and praised the “extreme willingness to help”.
Over the time from 2003 – 2013 AT&T gave access to billions of emails that were transmitted through their servers to the agency. One case that is especially remarkable is the mass surveillance of the electronic communication of the UN headquarters. But since there are many companies, organisations and private users that are customers and user of AT&T’s services there are many more potential targets, that might have been spied on.
In response to media enquiries, AT&T stated that it is not going to comment on matters of national security. Therefore it remains unclear whether the program is still active and emails and other communications are still being spied on.
National security and the war on terror has become a favourite excuse for governments and law enforcement to call for weakened or even prohibition of encryption and security for emails and electronic devices. Even though the prevention of crime and especially terrorism is unquestionably important there are many voices criticising the current developments. A deliberately weakened encryption and security standard cannot be good for anyone. Many companies, organisations and citizens have a legitimate interest in communicating their information and data securely – and they have every right to do so. So we should all find a way that is not restricting the freedom of many to fight the few but one that works to protect the privacy of the honest majority.
Read here, what our CEO Mark Forrest has to say to this topic.