Researcher Wins NSA Cybersecurity Award; Uses Opportunity To Bash The NSA

from the good-for-him dept

A bunch of folks have sent over this story of Joseph Bonneau, an engineer from Google, who happened to win the NSA’s award for “Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper” for 2012, for his paper on The Science of Guessing: Analyzing an Anonymized Corpus of 70 Million Passwords. In response, Bonneau took to his blog to first thank those who helped with the research… and then to explain why mass surveillance is bad and why the NSA should go away:

Like many in the community of cryptographers and security engineers, I’m sad that we haven’t better informed the public about the inherent dangers and questionable utility of mass surveillance. And like many American citizens I’m ashamed we’ve let our politicians sneak the country down this path.

In accepting the award I don’t condone the NSA’s surveillance. Simply put, I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organisation like the NSA in its current form.

When even the people the NSA is handing out awards to are publicly speaking out against the NSA’s practices, perhaps it’s time for the NSA to change?

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Researcher Wins NSA Cybersecurity Award; Uses Opportunity To Bash The NSA”

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16 Comments
vastrightwing (profile) says:

A case for dismantling the NSA.

If the NSA is designed for intelligence, It’s time to retire it. The case is that by not having the NSA, we can now make our enemies more paranoid then ever before. By not spying on anyone, every time we are not caught spying will only serve to make our enemies more paranoid that we are spying on them and simply not being caught doing it. Because we’ve been so invasive before, our enemies will think we are ever more stealth full and they will spend billions of dollars trying to uncover acts we are simply not doing.

Sure laugh, but this tactic has been used before. It’s safe, within the law and effective. We can still claim we are not spying and be truthful. After all, with all the lying that’s been going on, no one would know the truth if it hit them in the head anyway. And with the economy we have today, this makes perfect sense. (unless of course, the NSA was really designed for us citizens).

What do we have to loose?

DannyB (profile) says:

People need to fear speaking badly of the NSA

In cold war police states and in dictatorships, people knew better than to openly speak out.

George Orwell’s novel “1984” took it further with the idea of “thoughtcrime”.

The NSA needs to get on the ball here. If people can still openly criticize the NSA, then something needs to be done and they deserve the criticism they get.

Anonymous Coward says:

Have to say it seems his words might have carried more weight if he had said them in refusing their award rather than accepting it.

And this statement sounds as though perhaps he (and his friends/colleagues in his particular branch of the industry) could still do something about this if they so choose:
“Like many in the community of cryptographers and security engineers, I?m sad that we haven?t better informed the public about the inherent dangers and questionable utility of mass surveillance.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The problem is the politicians and the military/surveillance contractors. Those industries are extremely powerful in USA http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130727/23184623970/its-all-about-money-house-reps-who-voted-to-keep-nsa-surveillance-received-two-times-as-much-money-defense-industry.shtml Politicians care about money for their reelection and since giving more money in that direction is likely to give a better grant to them, they have little interest in turning these people down. Also, private actors cooperating with NSA is a recipe for industrial espionage down the line…

Paul says:

But what are those people we put out of work by dismantling the NSA supposed to do to earn a living and support their families?? Oh yeah, that’s right, they will have to join the millions of common folk/citizens (who they recently called their enemy)and suffer the fruits of their labor. I’d like to be the first to welcome them to the same level of economic embarrassment their corrupt leaders (and elected officials) have left “We the People”. Hell, just make pot legal to vacate half the prison cells then we can fill the cells with these lying, stealing, cheating usurpers of our Democracy. As a 100% Disabled and Decorated Vietnam Veteran I want my Constitution Back, I want my Privacy back. We all need to do anything & everything possible to bring down our current Tyrannical Regime and reinstall the Democracy we once had. I love my Country but Hate its’ current Government…..

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