Looking back at the Snowden Revelations .

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Offline sr john

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Looking back at the Snowden Revelations .
« on: September 29, 2019, 08:12:41 PM »
24 sept 2019 .

Edward Snowden recently released his memoirs. In some parts of the Internet, this has rekindled an ancient debate: namely, was it all worth it? Did Snowden  leaks make us better off, or did Snowden just embarrasses us and set back U.S. security by decades? Most of the arguments are so familiar that they're  boring at this point. But no matter how many times I read them, I still feel that there   something important missing .

It's  no coincidence that this is a cryptography blog, which means that I'm not concerned with the same things as the general public. That is, I'm not terribly interested in debating the value of whistle blower laws (for some of that, see this excellent Twitter thread by Jake Williams). Instead, when it comes to Snowden  leaks, I think the question we should be asking ourselves is very different. Namely .

What did the Snowden leaks tell us about modern surveillance capabilities? And what did we learn about our ability to defend against them?

And while the leaks themselves have receded into the past a bit   and the world has continued to get more complicated   the technical concerns that Snowden  alerted us to are only getting more salient .

Life before June 2013
It's  difficult to believe that the Snowden revelations began over six years ago. It's   also easy to forget how much things have changed in the intervening years .

Six years ago, vast portions of our communication were done in plaintext. It's  hard to believe how bad things were, but back in 2013, Google was one of the only major tech companies who had deployed HTTPS in its services by default, and even there they had some major exceptions. Web clients were even worse. These graphs (source and source) don't   cover the whole time period, but they give some of the flavor .

https://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/2019/09/24/looking-back-at-the-snowden-revelations/ .

« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 12:11:54 AM by sr john »
Spreading The Truth .
Thanks  Sr John .

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