Whistleblower gives longest remarks yet on encryption and surveillance.
Good, user-friendly encryption technology will push us toward a "more constitutional" method of data-gathering, said Snowden. End-to-end encryption is a strategy to fight against "global passive surveillance," which collects everyone’s data indiscriminately and then trusts the authorities to only do appropriate searches. With better encryption, "if law enforcement and intelligence agencies want to gather someone’s communications, they have to target them specifically," he said. "They can’t just go back in a time machine and say, ‘what did they say back in 2008?’"
Snowden encouraged "makers and developers," like those at the SXSW conference, to start building more tools to protect privacy.
"They’re setting fire to the future of the Internet," he said. "The people in this room, you guys are all the firefighters… We want secure services that aren’t opt-in. If you have to go to a command line, people aren’t going to use it. if you have to go three menus deep, people aren’t going to use it.
Soghoian emphasized that the goal isn’t to actually stop intelligence agencies’ work, which is impossible. Instead, the goal is to raise the cost of the most abusive behavior. "If you are a target of the NSA, it’s going to be game over no matter what," he said. "Encryption makes bulk surveillance too expensive. The goal isn’t to blind the NSA. The goal is to make it so they can’t spy on innocent people."
The most popular Internet services are currently ad-driven, and that’s going to be an ongoing privacy problem, Soghoian continued. Google and Facebook have little incentive to prioritize user privacy. "Google wants to sit between you and everyone you interact with and provide some added value," including advertising, he said. "Now, $5 a month for encrypted communication where no one can watch you—that’s something that people might be willing to pay for."
See on arstechnica.com