Bruce Schneier is a globally recognized crypto expert. If anyone understands the underbelly of what the NSA is doing, it’s him. He’s got an absolute must-read piece up that is truly disturbing.
First and foremost, the surveillance state is robust. It is robust politically, legally, and technically. I can namethreedifferent NSA programs to collect Gmail user data. These programs are based on three different technical eavesdropping capabilities. They rely on three different legal authorities. They involve collaborations with three different companies. And this is just Gmail. The same is true for cell phone call records, Internet chats, cell-phonelocation data.
Second, the NSA continues to lie about its capabilities. It hides behind tortured interpretations of words like “collect,” “incidentally,” “target,” and “directed.” It cloaks programs in multiple code names to obscure their full extent and capabilities. Officials testify that a particular surveillance activity is not done under one particular program or authority, conveniently omitting that it is done under some other program or authority.