We should be using email encryption even for sharing our chocolate chip cookie recipes.
Given that the NSA has taps on almost all of the internet’s major trunk routes, the PGP records can be incredibly useful. It’s a simple matter to build a script that can identify one PGP user and then track all their contacts to build a journal of their activities.
Even better is the Mujahedeen Secrets encryption system, which was released by the Global Islamic Media Front to allow Al Qaeda supporters to communicate in private. Weaver said that not only was it even harder to use than PGP, but it was a boon for metadata – since almost anyone using it identified themselves as a potential terrorist.
“It’s brilliant!” enthused Weaver. “Whoever it was at the NSA or GCHQ who invented it give them a big Christmas bonus.”
Given all the tools available to the intelligence agencies there’s really no need for an encryption backdoor, he explained. With the NSA’s toolkit of zero-day exploits, and old-day exploits, it’s much easier to root a target’s computer after identifying them from metadata traffic.
The problem is that encryption is a hassle. Until the hassle factor is significantly reduced it’s not going to happen.—Joe]