Cnet.com reports that the National Security Agency "had apparently impersonated Google on at least one occasion to gather data on people." The article adds that "A technique commonly used by hackers, a MITM attack involves using a fake security certificate to pose as a legitimate Web service, bypass browser security settings, and then intercept data that an unsuspecting person is sending to that service. Hackers could, for example, pose as a banking Web site and steal passwords." Google apparently denied having any knowledge of the NSA or the British Government Communications Headquarters having bypassed Google's security system. However, the article reminds us that the New York Times reported "last week that the NSA has sidestepped common Net encryption methods in a number of ways, including hacking into the servers of private companies to steal encryption keys, collaborating with tech companies to build in back doors, and covertly introducing weaknesses into encryption standards."
The New York Times piece adds that the NSA "has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show" and that "beginning in 2000, as encryption tools were gradually blanketing the Web, the N.S.A. invested billions of dollars in a clandestine campaign to preserve its ability to eavesdrop. Having lost a public battle in the 1990s to insert its own “back door” in all encryption, it set out to accomplish the same goal by stealth."
One wonders why the Obama administration and representatives of both political parties have largely moved on from the NSA scandal in the hopes that the American people will become distracted by Syria or the new slate of fall television programs or the latest government-manufactured crisis. And while some defenders of the president and the National Security Agency have attempted to ease the concerns of Americans by downplaying the relevance or importance of the NSA scandal, there are serious questions that demand answers before the American public can be expected to put this issue to rest. And with the NSA and other government agencies apparently acting with little restraint to broaden their powers, we cannot foolishly expect them to embrace a philosophy of self-restraint.
This alleged occurrence is yet another reminder that the public must end its blind trust of government, and that we must reacquire our suspicion of all that the government says and does in order to preserve what little liberty we have remaining. Throughout history governments have utilized a wide range of methods to deceive the people into believing that it needs to grasp the outstretched hands of those in power, but the motives of the powerful are never altruistic. Those who believe this or that security initiative is necessary for their safety and security have surrendered to a power that is more destructive than any threat from outside forces. This government respects no law and exceeds all boundaries in order to monitor our every thought and action. We are living in George Orwell's 1984, only the 2013 version is more sinister and dangerous. Keeping the majority of citizens ignorant is the key ingredient to building a tyrannical state. Consequently, we ignore this issue at our own peril. Once the pieces are put into place, and largely we are witnessing our own government doing just that, we will no longer have the ability to question their motives. We will only be able to whisper to ourselves why we let it all happen.