Three years after the decision of Edward Snowden to exfiltrate documents from the NSA, the national security agency in the u.s., the revelations have not stopped.
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More than three years have passed since Edward Snowden, sub-contractor to the national agency of american security (NSA) and a former agent of the CIA, has left the United States for hong Kong. It was there that he met several journalists to whom he has entrusted a huge stock of documents belonging to the NSA, the u.s. agency responsible for electronic spying. He wanted to denounce what he considered to be illegal practices, and shocking in matter of surveillance of communications. Since that date, and even if the pace has slowed down after the first few months, the revelations of the various media that have had access to these documents have not stopped. Here are the main lessons learned from this leak is unprecedented.
Documents Snowden : our revelations
The World has worked directly on all of the documents Snowden entrusted by the former agent of the NSA to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, in collaboration with the american website The Intercept, where they are stored under high security.
These documents show :
This brief will be updated as to our disclosure.
These documents belong to the set that we call ” the archive Snowden “. Of documents of all kinds, describing the monitoring programmes carried out by agents of the destination of their co-workers, internal communications… Some are very technical, others written to be understood by the largest number in the agency.
If the documents belong, to a large extent, to the us NSA, they have also allowed us to learn more about the activities of its counterparts. Edward Snowden has indeed copied many of the documents belonging to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the british equivalent of the NSA. These two agencies work so closely that the agents of one or the other have access to the many documents that belong to their counterparts, which explains why Edward Snowden had also access. These two agencies also participate in the agreement 5-Eyes, which binds them to their equivalents in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The documents, therefore, allowed to have a good overview of the skills and activities of certain intelligence agencies, electronic the most powerful on the planet.
This is without a doubt the main teaching of the documents Snowden : over the past fifteen years, the intelligence agencies, electronic, primarily british and american, to oversee massive global communications. Most of the experts are in doubt, the documents provide irrefutable evidence.
The examples of the massive character of this monitoring are many. It has (inter alia) been revealed that :
This of course does not mean that an agent is viewing or listening to the entirety of this data being intercepted, but as these communications are, at one time or another, for a length of time and according to variable parameters, stored in the servers of these agencies. Behind this trap mass communications, a simple logic : to detect the needle (the telling) in the haystack (the vast masses of global communications), it is better to intercept the entire haystack to sort in a second time. the ” Why don’t we collect all the time ? “ is requested, and the head of the NSA, Keith Alexander, on a visit to a listening centre of the satellite. A document from the GCHQ boasted even, that the purpose of the agency was ” train “ all over the Internet.
a Corollary of this logic : continuously seek new ways to gather the communications, whether on new submarine cables, new feeds, satellites, or through the use of new spyware. Thanks to documents Snowden, we know that the NSA and the GCHQ have developed a system industrialising and automating the infection of millions of computers, that the NSA is able to insert changing programs spy in the routers, american, devices which pass a large amount of communications on the Internet, before their delivery. This posture has even made the fear in some in the agencies find themselves overwhelmed by the data : a report of the GCHQ revealed in the documents Snowden shows that the analysts from the GCHQ feared a ” data deluge “ to the detriment of their capacity analysis.
monitoring diplomatic and policy
in Addition to this aspiration, indiscriminate data, the intelligence agencies have been eavesdropping on a more targeted, focused on elites, political, diplomatic, and economic of many countries in the world, Angela Merkel to the european Commission via the entourage of Dilma Rousseff, the financial network Swift, many of the delegations of the united Nations, NGOS such as Doctors of the world… This interest of services was not limited to enemy countries, but also to friendly countries, including France.
The documents Snowden have revealed a close proximity, or in some cases, a porosity between technology companies and us intelligence services.
one of The major revelations, at least the one that made the most noise, was the program Prism : in a document, the NSA boasts of having a privileged access to the servers of the biggest giants of the digital, from Facebook to Google via Microsoft. Most of the companies involved have denied the existence of this program.
If the collaboration of most of the companies is dictated and governed by american law, some companies are overzealous, as the telecom giant american AT&T. In a document, the NSA welcomes ” the extreme willingness to help “ demonstrated by the operator. The company Microsoft has also facilitated the task of the NSA to access data from some of its customers. The documents Snowden also showed that the intelligence services nouaient partnerships are very important with the companies managing the submarine cable to suck the data they pass through.
… the second attacker as the first
When the intelligence services can’t get the collaboration of the giants of the digital, they are acting in their backs. It is also one of the key lessons of the documents Snowden, who has largely contributed to the climate of distrust that exists in the United States between technology companies and Washington.
The Washington Post revealed that the NSA piratait the links internal to Google and Yahoo! to intercept data from their users, a revelation that these companies have perceived as a thunder clap. Thanks to documents Snowden, we also know that the NSA has thrown its weight to weaken some encryption standards of the data, making potentially easier the reading of data meant to be protected, and weaken the security of all users of the Internet.
Agreements between agencies and States
The documents Snowden have also provided insight into relationships hidden between intelligence agencies and governments, and to understand that some countries are eliminating a part of their sovereignty in the field of information in exchange for useful information. The case of Germany is illustrative : the United States, via the NSA, has provided materials, funding, and technical know-how in the field of surveillance against the authorization to conduct surveillance activities from the territory of germany or access to data intercepted.
Data… and metadata
Finally, the revelations of Snowden have put on the front of the stage, a category-specific data : metadata. The documents of the archive Snowden show that the information – who can tell who communicates with whom, when, how long, with what device – are often as important as the content of the conversations. And lend themselves particularly by their small size, the interception of mass.