In early July, hacker Jacob Appelbaum and two other security experts published a blockbuster story in conjunction with the German press. They had obtained leaked top secret NSA documents and source code showing that the surveillance agency had targeted and potentially penetrated the Tor Network, a widely used privacy tool considered to be the holy grail of online anonymity. Internet privacy activists and organizations reacted to the news with shock. For the past decade, they had been promoting Tor as a scrappy but extremely effective grassroots technology that can protect journalists, dissidents and whistleblowers from powerful government forces that want to track their every move online. It was supposed to be the best tool out there. Tor’s been an integral part of EFF’s “Surveillance Self-Defense” privacy toolkit. Edward Snowden is apparently a big fan, and so is Glenn Greenwald, who says it “allows people to surf without governments or secret services being able to monitor them.” But the German exposé showed Tor providing the opposite of anonymity: it singled out users for total NSA surveillance, potentially sucking up and recording everything they did online. To many in the privacy community, the NSA’s attack on Tor was tantamount to high treason: a fascist violation of a fundamental and sacred human right to privacy and free speech. via PandoDaily.
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