The fallout from the NSA spying program continues. The Director of National Intelligence issued a press release seeking to refute claims about its interest in online anonymity services, specifically Tor, which is a service that allows people surf the Internet anonymously. These documents were revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. This revelation highlights the internal struggles of the US government over how to react to anonymity online. NSA is trying its endeavor best to undermine the anonymity of Tor and other branches of the federal government such as the State Department, are paying for that same service.
However, the articles fail to make clear that the Intelligence Community’s interest in online anonymity services and other online communication and networking tools is based on the undeniable fact that these are the tools our adversaries use to communicate and coordinate attacks against the United States and our allies.
The articles fail to mention that the Intelligence Community is only interested in communication related to valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes and that we operate within a strict legal framework that prohibits accessing information related to the innocent online activities of US citizens.
Within our lawful mission to collect foreign intelligence to protect the United States, we use every intelligence tool available to understand the intent of our foreign adversaries so that we can disrupt their plans and prevent them from bringing harm to innocent Americans.
In the modern telecommunications era, our adversaries have the ability to hide their messages and discussions among those of innocent people around the world. They use the very same social networking sites, encryption tools and other security features that protect our daily online activities.
Americans depend on the Intelligence Community to know who and what the threats are, and where they come from. They want us to provide policy makers with the information necessary to keep our nation safe, and they rightfully want us to do this without compromising respect for the civil liberties and privacy of our citizens. Source: IC on the Record
Interest in Edward Snowden and the actions of the NSA have started to wane, but it’s very important for people to remain engaged in government surveillance and be concerned about how far the government will go to snoop on its people.