Hours before NSA Chief General Keith Alexander delivered the keynote address at the Black Hat security conference, The Guardian reported on the NSA surveillance program XKeyscore; it can allegedly give analysts access to "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet." It no doubt took nerves of steel to address the crowd of hackers in order to defend the PRISM surveillance program known as Section 702 to the NSA insiders. A little over 30 minutes into his speech, some of the attendees had had enough and the first outburst was a shouted "bullsh*t."
Others at the conference took a less confrontational approach, tweeting like crazy with their thoughts or choice quotes by Alexander. It seems like most of the talk was focused on damage control due to what the public now knows thanks to Edward Snowden. While I don't necessarily agree with the all of the following, here are some of my favorite informative and/or snarky tweets that occurred during Alexander's keynote.
Although he did show slides to show what the NSA does or doesn't "see," most of the talk is what you might expect. He defended the "lawful intercept" program, maintaining that it saves lives because terrorists are walking amongst us and using our communications. He also claimed that FISA approval is not rubber stamped and it is illegal to collect Americans' information. He didn't add that if you use encryption, then all bets are off, as you might be suspicious and therefore all communications should be collected and stored - at least according to leaked documents. He did say that all NSA monitoring can be audited and there are no abuses, including a Congress review that found "no willful violations of the law."
Last but not least, the head of the NSA wants ideas to help defend civil liberties and privacy while still managing to defend America. If you have any, Alexander said to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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