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It's with panels like Glenn Greenwald's that makes me regret not making it down to the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. At this particular event, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was broadcast from Russia to answer a number of questions that Twitter users had for him, and in the end, one of the biggest things to take away from his discussion is that he has no regrets whatsoever about the leaks he coordinated.

It's actually quite interesting that both Greenwald and Snowden were broadcast at SXSW, as Greenwald is one of three journalists that Snowden chose to give access to the enormous collection of NSA documents; many, presumably, which have yet to be even tackled given their sheer number.

When the NSA news first broke last summer, it was alluded to time and time again that if you enhance your security online by way of encryption, the NSA automatically treats you as a target. It's one thing to hear that through the grapevine, though, and another to hear it come from the mouth of a man who's spent much of his past year poring over NSA documents.

Greenwald states, "In [the NSA's] mind, if you want to hide what you’re saying from them, it must mean that what you’re saying is a bad thing. They view the use of encryption… as evidence that you’re suspicious and can actually target you if you use it." It doesn't get more cut-and-dry than that.

Credit: Tom Cheredar / Venturebeat

He goes on to state that one of the reasons people who use encryption are so easy to target is because they're the minority. Logic would then imply that if we all made an effort to make use of encryption in all of our online dealings, the NSA would have no one to target based on that one reason alone. Isn't it just a little bit sick to know that your desire for privacy makes you a suspect?

Here's another eye-opener; "The national security state in Washington has so completely perfected the art of co-opting and capturing whatever sa[censored]uards are created, that they’re very adept at turning them into further tools for their own power rather than what they’re intended to be." An example? Putting people who will back up your battle in important positions, so as to make the American public believe things might be improving, when in fact they're not. Ultimately, the NSA and the US Government as a whole would love nothing more than for everyone to believe that it heavily values privacy, and it might go as far as to claim things that are absolutely untrue (which would strike no one by surprise, I'm sure).

If you currently make use of out-of-the-ordinary encryption to enhance your privacy online, it's good to be aware that you might "targeted" by the NSA. But at the same time, it's good to keep on doing what you're doing, because privacy is a human right, and the US government certainly doesn't need to know what you had for breakfast.


Everyone wearing clothes is now a suspected sexual deviant.


ACommenterOnThis that sounds Like rape talk to me!! you damn commie.



DaleRoberts - Which office of NSA do you work from?


I'm sure they use encryption, that makes them Suspect of wrong doing.


We wouldn't have to secure our connections if you didn't make our private communications your business with an illegal warrant-less tap in the first place.


They are even reading this comment...

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The US is going to hell in a hand-basket!

So if you lock the doors of your home and car you must be trying to hide something right?! and that gives them the right to come in and look.. Is that where we are headed? We can't even lock our doors and windows without becoming a suspect let alone trying to protect our privacy online.

I feel like we are in the movie the Matrix where the machines are our government and we are just battery cells plug in and only here to be used by our government. I thought in this country the government was here for us not the other way around. I choose the red [censored] so I can wake up from this nightmare.


Isn't everyone a suspect anyway, hense why they collect data on everyone ?


information is power. i like the idea of everyone using encryptions so they have nobody to target


Does anyone else just say random semi threatening but 100% joking statements through text or email to a random friend just to see if a man will show up in a black sedan and ask to talk in a secure location?


I send emails to myself about stupid things that could be counted as threatening. I haven't had anything happen, and no one has contacted me..... yet.


@koltirons: Everyone using encryption is not gonna work. They have access to everything anyways. Have you heard of those pesky hardware CPU back doors that are built into Intel and AMD parts?