Most internet users like to think that if they keep strong passwords and add antivirus and malware software to their machines that they are reasonably safe from online snoopers.
The opposite seems to be the real state of affairs as documents leaked by US security agency whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal the companies that computer users have paid to protect them have left back doors in the software that let British and American spy agencies enter a computer at will.
Banking security, strong passwords and 128-key encryption are all a waste of time if you have something to hide.
Like a burglar alarm on a derelict house, the fact that computer users install the software and encrypt their transactions and emails merely alerts a snooper to the fact that they may have something to hide.
Internet and computer security is all a con, it seems.
Software security busted
The US National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropper collaborated to bust the highest levels of software security wide open.
The shameful fact is that any program code written by a human can eventually be cracked by another human, rendering the information it shields transparent to those in the know.
Documents show that the US security agencies spend $250 million ‘influencing’ – that’s bribing to anyone else – companies and software designers to give up their encryption keys and programming secrets.
GCHQ has also infiltrated the highly encrypted data held by internet providers like Yahoo, Hotmail, Google and Facebook.
The technology companies say they only co-operate with spy agencies when legally challenged, but they don’t seem to put up much of a fight or issue counter challenges to protect the customers who pay them to trust them with their private
The US government claims all this super-snooping online is aimed at halting terrorism.
That argument does not seem to hold water. Any terrorist worth their salt would switch off any electronic device connected to a telephone network or the internet because they would know spy agencies are eavesdropping their every conversation.
If that’s the case, then everyone has the right to know exactly what is happening to these trillions of gigabytes of personal data governments are collecting.
And if snooping is so necessary and effective, why didn’t the most powerful governments in the world with billions of pounds of sophisticated hardware, software and expert analysts at their disposal know in advance about the deployment of chemical
weapons in Syria – and who is to blame for the appalling atrocity.
Or is it another case of only telling what someone in a suit thinks the rest of the world needs to know?