With the government back in business, attention has now shifted to the shortcomings of the Healthcare.gov website, with Congress holding the first of many hearings aimed at understanding the technical issues plaguing Obama’s signature achievement, healthcare reform.
The government, however, is no stranger to data collection, with the National Security Agency’s (NSA) controversial harvesting hundreds of millions of personal contact lists – against the will of the American people.
“During a single day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers, according to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation.”
That’s over 680,000 address books in one day. To successfully collect this vast amount of data, the NSA used a program capable of carving out its own “back door” in online encryptions to develop custom-built computers to break codes.
“But, the agency didn’t accomplish this on its own,” Shawn Griffiths writes. “According to the leaked document, courtesy of Snowden, The NSA worked with technology companies in the US and around the world to create entry points into their products. Some companies claim they were coerced by the government to build a back door for them or hand over their ‘master encryption keys.'”
So why can’t the Obama administration just hire the NSA staff that stole more than 250 million email address books per year to process the information of the half a million people who have willfully handed their information over to the government?
Photo Credit: Chicago Now