The latest top-secret documents leaked to the media by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden reveal that United States and British spy agencies have invested billions of dollars towards efforts to make online privacy obsolete.
The New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica all reported on Thursday that newly released Snowden documents expose the great lengths that the National Security Agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, have gone to in order to eavesdrop on encrypted Internet communications.
According to the latest Snowden leak, the NSA and its British counterpart have circumvented the encryption methods used to secure emails, chats and essentially most Internet traffic that was previously thought to be protected from prying eyes.
The price tag for such an endeavor, the Guardian reported, is around a quarter-of-a-billion dollars each year for just the US, and involves not just intricate code-breaking, but maintaining partnerships with the tech companies that provide seemingly secure online communication outlets.
“The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that Internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments,” James Ball, Julian Borger and Glenn Greenwald reported for the Guardian...