A new exposé based on the revelations of Edward Snowden has revealed the National Security Agency has developed methods to crack online encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records.
"Encryption is really the system that lets the Internet function as an important commercial instrument all around the world," says Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, which collaborated with The New York Times and ProPublica on the reporting. "It’s what lets you enter your credit card number, check your banking records, buy and sell things online, get your medical tests online, engage in private communications. It’s what protects the sanctity of the Internet."
The NSA spends $250 million a year on a program which, among other goals, works with technology companies to "covertly influence" their product designs. "The entire system is now being compromised by the NSA and their British counterpart, the GCHQ," Greenwald says. "Systematic efforts to ensure that there is no form of human commerce, human electronic communication, that is ever invulnerable to their prying eyes."