NSA

NSA F**k Off: Coming Soon Open Source Encryption for People Like Me

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Snowden
AP

Encryption is not fun and easy. I fooled around a bit the Pretty Good Privacy and found it frustrating and complicated to use. Fortunately, Edward Snowden's revelations of just how intrusive the national security surveillance state is has now provoked efforts to create user friendly encryption. 

BlockPrism is a non-profit project launched by a group of computer science students at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam and a mechanical engineering student at Stanford University in Palo Alto. They want to make encryption easy by creating programming tools that allow seamless integration across social media, without the user having to go through any trouble to encrypt his or her messages. They explain in an email that as a prototype that they have programmed a Chrome browser plugin, available in Facebook Chat here (video). In order to complete development and to make it available on mobile devices (iOS and Android), they have launched the indiegogo campaign.

The "zero knowledge" cloud storage company SpiderOak has developed Crypton, an open-source software project that aims to make it easy for software developers to create "zero knowledge" applications as way to stymie online surveillance efforts. As Infoworld reported:

Crypton is essentially a framework that allows applications to encrypt data within a web browser before it is sent to a remote server.

Advancements in web browsers over the last few years have made Crypton possible. The JavaScript engines in web browsers are much more powerful and can handle intensive encryption tasks such as generating the key needed to lock and unlock encrypted data….

Users have peace of mind that even if a company was subpoenaed by a court, the company would not be able to decrypt the data, making it useless. … The encryption keys remain on a user's computer.

The bottom-up creativity inherent in the technologies of freedom gives me the hope that they will always eventually outrun the top-down centralized technologies of oppression.

For some relatively simple ways to annoy government spies, see my column, "How To Keep Your Government From Spying on You."

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