In yet another update on How The NSA Is Violating Your Rights, we bring you this gem:
The National Security Agency can easily defeat the world’s most widely used cellphone encryption, a capability that means the agency can decode most of the billions of calls and texts that travel over public airwaves each day, according to published report citing documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Even though this was posted on 13 Dec, we bring it to you because it fits into the bigger picture:
1. The NSA said that it only keeps metadata. Yesterday we showed you that they can still identify you even with that.
2. The NSA says it can’t/doesn’t listen to your calls. Today we see that isn’t exactly true either.
3. Most people think that only the federal intelligence agencies have this capability. Also not true. USAToday published a report explaining that 25 police departments actually have what’s called a Stingray, or a device that acts like a fake cell tower and pulls in signals of the phones around it.
If that’s not creepy enough, way back in 2011, cryptographers explained how it’s possible to break GSM (cell phone encryption) with four Motorola handsets, a medium-capability computer, and a 2 terabyte hard drive. In other words, about $650. In case you’re wondering, approximately 5 billion cell phones used GSM in 2011. There’s some math for you.
Moral of the story: Yes, Virginia, you’re living in a surveillance state.