The ultra-covert U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) finds itself in the public eye from news alleging they monitor the world's email. This news, however, should not be a major surprise given many predictors (i.e., rumors), including a few listed below.
It will be of interest, however, to see how this allegation permeates into the following discussions:
- Organizational Security (i.e., NSA as victim): It is a mistake to believe organizational security is only about keeping foreign hackers out of the network. This case, and other famous leaks (such as Wikileaks) makes clear that employees, or other attackers with access, have always posed a very real security threat (see "Ultimate Insider Attack" link below).
- American Citizen Privacy: Growth in technology capabilities combine with terrorism realities to make domestic discussions of individual privacy both interesting and complicated (see also related topic: The USA Patriot Act)
- Diplomatic Niceties: It will be tough, diplomatically, to accuse another country of cyber-attacking the US if, in fact, the US itself cyber-attacks others (see "China Hacks US" link below).
- Open Source Intelligence: Critical intelligence is increasingly gleaned from large growth in social media communications, such as email, twitter, and SMS, making this what is known as a "big data" problem.
In 1929, Secretary of State Henry Stimson's stated elegantly, but not practically, that "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail." His opinion changed greatly, of course, when in WWII Secretary of War Stimson depended on cryptanalysis to decrypt enemy communications
Reading other's mail continues to become more interesting!
- Email Leak News: http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-06-06/world/39779097_1_intelligence-agencies-communications-secrecy (WP: 'No Such Agency' spies on the communications of the world)
- Email Leak News: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323495604578535290627442964.html(WSJ: Technology Emboldened the NSA/Advances in Computer, Software Paved Way for Government's Data Dragnet)
- Predictor: HBO's "The Newsroom" Episode 8 "The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn" includes a meeting with an NSA employee sharing news about email monitoring
- Predictor: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/ (Wired: The NSA Is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)
- Predictor: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/spy-factory.html (Nova: The Spy Factory Examine the high-tech eavesdropping carried out by the National Security Agency)
- Organizational Security Perspective: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/06/nsa-leaker-ultimate-insider/ (Wired: NSA Whistleblower: The Ultimate Insider Attack)
- China Hacks US: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/world/asia/in-china-hacking-has-widespread-acceptance.html?pagewanted=all (NYT: Hackers Find China Is Land of Opportunity)
- NSA History: http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2001/01/41063 (Wired: History Looks at the NSA)
- Video Briefs: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/videos/welcome-to-the-nsa/ OR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jflZaUNmxyk (National Geographic: Inside the NSA: America's Cyber Secrets Welcome to the NSA)