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Saturday, July 05, 2014

NSA likely targets anybody who's 'Tor-curious'

"An analysis of X-Keyscore's source code (text only) indicates that the program has targeted a German student who runs a Tor node, and can add to the NSA's surveillance lists anybody who uses popular Internet privacy tools such as Tor. The reports were prepared by reporters for the German public television broadcasters NDR and WDR, and people employed by and volunteering for Tor, who said that "former NSA employees and experts are convinced that the same code or similar code is still in use today."
Primarily funded by the US government, the Tor network anonymizes Internet traffic by relaying the communication through a series of encrypted, anonymizing hubs called nodes. It's often used by reporters and activists, and it was estimated in 2012 that 50,000 to 60,000 Iranians use the service daily.
Tails is a variant of the Linux operating system that can be launched from a USB key and comes with Tor and other common tools pre-configured with privacy settings. Each time it boots, it automatically wipes everything that isn't saved elsewhere. Tails is described in the X-Keyscore source code as, "a comsec mechanism advocated by extremists on extremist forums."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation cautioned people to not abandon the services just because the NSA was spying on them.
"The more ordinary people use Tor and Tails, the harder it is for the NSA to make the case that reading about or using these tools is de facto suspicious," wrote EFF staffers."

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