The U.S. government has attempted to obtain the master encryption keys that Internet companies use to shield millions of users’ private Web communications from eavesdropping.

These demands for master encryption keys, which have not been disclosed previously, represent a technological escalation in the clandestine methods that the FBI and the National Security Agency employ when conducting electronic surveillance against Internet users.

If the government obtains a company’s master encryption key, agents could decrypt the contents of communications intercepted through a wiretap or by invoking the potent surveillance authorities of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Web encryption — which often appears in a browser with a HTTPS lock icon when enabled — uses a technique called SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer.
“The requests are coming because the Internet is very rapidly changing to an encrypted model,” a former Justice Department official said. “SSL has really impacted the capability of U.S. law enforcement. They’re now going to the ultimate application layer provider.”

  1. g says:

    This is getting old, at what point does the American public………oh look porn see ya.

  2. soundwash says:

    They have probably already “snagged” them.
    -they’re just being polite. (lolz)

    this, IMO is just a minor “act” to save face down the line.
    -esp if they have outsourced this (or will) to a third party and are worried another “Snowden” might show up. etc, etc.

    whatever. -nothing in electronic format will ever be 100% secure anyway. pointless.


    • dusanmal says:

      Yes, electronic communication can be secure. Hence all hoopla over each secure way and (to your point) Governmental fascist intrusion into those secure systems. Sometimes openly as Blackberry fell down vs. number of foreign Governments, sometimes semi-covertly as in case of MS taking over Skype and making it fundamentally snoopable, and certainly sometimes in a so covert way that we can’t yet see it.
      But the fact that Government is in uproar that they can’t do it easily is a sign that safe methods remain. As fascism goes – safe methods no longer include any Corporate service.

  3. deowll says:

    I admire Harry Trueman. I admire JFK. They both made mistakes but they took responsibility and fired people who needed fired. The believed in individual liberty and individual responsibility.

    Obama just wants to grow the police state and when ever one of his people gets caught he doesn’t know anything about it and does nothing to correct it.

    • Phydeau says:

      Yup, not much difference between D’s and R’s in this area.

    • Greg Allen says:

      Did you also complain about Bush when all this started?

      Anyway, let’s use this as a bi-partistan opportunity to reign in the CIA and NSA and those agencies we have no heard about.

      What are the chances that congress would be willing to write or at least support some laws protecting the privacy rights of citizens?

      Currently, thanks to the GOP, they are incapable of even the most basic action.

      • Guyver says:

        Currently, thanks to the GOP, they are incapable of even the most basic action.

        Depends on your perspective. It took the Senate four years to pass their own budget proposal all while refusing to discuss the one the House passed long before.

      • Mr Diesel - If I had a President he would look like Ronald Reagan. says:

        Hell yes I have been complaining about GW. The bullshit Un-Patriot act he got through Congress was a big step towards trampling the rest of our rights. Section 215 gives the NSA carte blanch to do whatever the hell they want to do and Boehner voted to help Obobbo by keeping it.

        Clapper lies and nothing happens. Fuck them.

      • LibertyLover says:

        Did you also complain about Bush when all this started?


        And you were told that the Obamessiah would continue the policies.

        But everyone wanted that “breath of fresh air” so they voted for him anyway. Now choke on it.

    • Wordy Woody says:

      Are you KIDDING me?! Did you attend public school within the last 40 years or something?

      JFK alone probably gave these NSA snoops and other security agencies more power than any other president since the end of WWII — by getting his ass SHOT!

      We can argue JFK all day and night but the facts say that his 3 years in office were probably the worst in modern history. I say “probably” since we should probably also consider CARTER!

      Just look at the facts that we already know about JFK and the bay of pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, or even Vietnam which Johnson later took over. Let’s also not forget that Nixon – NIXON! – was the guy who actually ended Vietnam after he showed he was willing to bomb anyone willing to assist in that fight. About the only good thing JFK did was to try and limit or end the power of the privately run Federal Reserve which Wilson – another Democrat – handed over about 50 years earlier.

      One other thing you can say about JFK is that he didn’t really help advance civil rights either. Yet, ask most any American of color (or whatever the PC term is) how they feel about him and you’ll probably get a very big disagreement. But the facts speak for themselves. Nothing JFK did while president really helped end racism. Go ahead and look it up, assuming you can find a real history book.

      And because the guy is now something of a martyr it’s hard to even argue any of it with the highly emotional left-leaning fools who can’t/won’t remember history. All they want to do is call you names whenever you sound critical over ANY of the Kennedy’s — even “Teddy” who actually KILLED a woman in cold blood yet went on to serve another 30+ years in Congress.

      Now we come to Truman. And while Truman was probably a real good guy himself, he was the guy who morphed the war department(s) into most of our modern day security agencies which are now snooping on us (other than the FBI which was started by his predecessor, FDR). You could even say that Truman was the guy who STARTED IT ALL! And the excuse they used THEN was that we needed these “G Men” to protect us from the “red scourge” that had taken over Russia and all of eastern Europe.

      Let’s also not forget that Truman was the president who decided to nuke Japan too. It was probably a good decision since it probably ended the war a lot sooner. But let’s not forget it since we’ll probably never know what other options he might have had available.

      So now, let’s fast-forward in time where all those “commies” of the late 40’s through 70’s seem to have morphed into “terrorists” and are now attacking a whole new generation of knee-jerk reactionary’s ready to fight and surrender their very lives – and “rights”! People like Obama and even BUSH! Because the masses of fools will always bow down like that whenever the issue SEEMS to be over security, country, freedom, or whatever the adjective/pronoun of the day happens to be and has been successfully planted in the hearts and minds of the average American voter.

      So all this crap about privacy really shouldn’t surprise anyone when we sit ideally by as the Washington elite take away our rights – even if you happen to agree!

      Think about this: Have you EVER known ANY government agency, authority or whatever to really be all that competent (smart) or secure? Ya, me neither. Which is why I say we should be fighting this government control crap tooth and nail every step of the way. But the first thing should probably be to get the American people to WAKE THE FUCK UP AND STOP PLAYING POLITICS!

      … And you might THINK I’m doing exactly that. But let’s examine that for a moment, shall we?

      You know nothing I’ve said here isn’t true. I’ll even admit that the “right” is plagued with their problems too. But when all anyone can point at on the right side are perverts like Anthony Weiner I say, COME ON! Cause if the only choice is between some gay pervert who likes to spend his time in men’s bathrooms or some other LAWYER who want’s to “fix” America, I think I know who I will choose – not that it’s really much of a choice, mind you.

      You could even say that about the worst thing the “right” tries to do is maintain the status quot that the left often sets up. So if anything, I’m saying that we should probably focus a little more on the left side of the isle TOO! Because if we do that it just might expose what’s REALLY wrong in America.

      …And who would be stupid enough to argue that there’s nothing wrong? That is, unless you’re elected!

      • jpfitz says:

        I think wordy had some word problems, and memory problems. complains about politics but only understands the politics of past. Fuck politics. Bombing with nukes is not politics. Nor was Johnson and Nixon’s escalation of carpet bombing a nation we had no quarrel with. Oh, and can’t we at least have one handsome, WOMEN CHASING, martyr who WAS MURDERED probably by our/your government. Holy shit, have some compassion, wait, your probably one of those high falutin “businessmen” we now realise are just societies sociopaths.

        At least (not that it matters) dems don’t play footsie under the mens room stalls. Its always you neocons trying to con the public. Most are liars and very successful at hiding the fact that their either drug addicts or closeted homosexuals or worse. Think Dick Cheney.

        By the way Wordy. I’m a registered R, soon to be a I.

    • MikeN says:

      Both of those guys were big on government surveillance. JFK had Nixon audited by the IRS.

  4. mojo says:

    “NOW do you understand why you’re not allowed to install your own chosen algorithms and keys on your smart phone?”

  5. Tim says:

    I just say “Is Henry there?” when I’m looking to procure some super-sticky, seal-team 6 danky black dank. Works every time.

  6. Greg Allen says:

    There are master keys for SSL?

    I had no idea.

    I assumed that the server created temporary random ones and then deleted them when the session was over.

    Why doesn’t it work that way?

    • dusanmal says:

      It is identity problem. To securely communicate with X, X must prove that it is indeed X. Guarantor of that is the master key. Having the master key of X someone Y can pretend to be X and than your temporary keys exchanged with them serve no protective purpose.

    • Captain Obvious says:

      There are public and private keys for encryption. The Gov wants the big service providers’ private keys. For example, when you do a Google search now it uses HTTPS ( SSL +certificate). You can communicate with the server securely because Google provides you a public key to encrypt your message. Only Google can decrypt it because they have the matching private key.

      The government wants to know what you are searching for by getting Google’s private key.

      In a nutshell, it’s none of their business.

    • NobodySpecial says:

      This is more than just encryption.
      The SSL key also confirms that you are connected to who you think you are connected to – the little padlock icon in the toolbar.

      If you have their SSL key you can make any website you want verify as anything else you want. This has been done by other totalitarian regimes to redirect people accessing foreign news sites or VPNs

  7. dusanmal says:

    “SSL has really impacted the capability of U.S. law enforcement.” – this is the lie that online community must debunk, expose and fight. Focused snooping, even of SSL communications without knowing keys is almost trivial. But it demands physical action lazy law enforcement won’t do anymore. You go to the person to be spied on and you snoop locally in an old fashioned way. Their demand that they must be able to snoop on grand scale from a comfy remote chair is BS.

    • NobodySpecial says:

      But waterboarding is such hard work and so much mess to clean up later – it’s so much easier to just use their emails to convict people.

    • Guyver says:

      You go to the person to be spied on and you snoop locally in an old fashioned way. Their demand that they must be able to snoop on grand scale from a comfy remote chair is BS.

      Why not push a TSR trojan onto people’s computer remotely to key log and gather information to phone home with companies like Norton, McAffee, Microsoft, etc. agreeing not to flag it as a trojan?

      That would make SSL essentially a non-issue.

    • LibertyLover says:

      This is entirely within the realm of modern electronics.

      Power switches no longer disconnect the battery from the electronics. They simply send a single to the processor to shutdown and stop processing — think of “fly by wire” if you have a hard time seeing this.

      They (snoops) could simply upload a virus/app/whatever that intercepted that signal and did everything the user would expect, visually, while keeping the tracking system active (and a few other things . . . like microphones).

      The only way to be sure you are cut off is to put your phone in a Faraday Cage bag. And even then, I’m not so sure, what with modifiable wave properties and all. Lead pipes are the only true way to block a cell signal these days.

      • Dallas says:

        Your tin foil hat to can be used as a faraday cage so place cellphone under that!

        Alternatively, you can carry a bird cage and use that but put a bird in it do people won’t look at you funny.

        • Gwad his own self says:

          crawl back under your bridge.

          Arguing is ok but you never do anything but crap on other people. Shut the fvck up.

        • LibertyLover says:

          I wear a tin foil hat because I understand how technology works?

          I would call you a technophobe, but that would mean a dislike or fear of technology. But that would mean you understand it, and I’m not convinced of that.

          I’ll just invent a word to describe you instead.

          Ignortech – Someone ignorant of how technology works.

          Or even better:

          Technoramus – A technological ignoramus.

          • Dallas says:

            I’m confident my technical experience and academic training is overwhelmingly superior to yours.

            You strike me as a ‘googling techoanus’ – Someone talking technical terms out their ass after doing a google search.

          • LibertyLover says:

            My offer still stands to drag your keyboard bravado up to Denton.

            Yooouuuuu’rrrrreeeee not smarter than me. I’m smarter than you. See how that works?

            Be original, for God’s sake.

  8. noname says:

    Because most everything is digital now, Americans lose all their constitutional rights?

    In some jurisdictions you can receive up to two years of jail and up to $2,000 if convicted of illegally eavesdropping and recording a conversation before gaining the consent of all parties in a communication.

    Yet, when it’s digital and Internet related, its fair game? When did Americans repeal the Constitution?

    I guess GW knew it best when he said “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Indeed our Government has become a fearful master, keeping its thumb on everyone freedoms!

    Thanks to President Cheney and his military industrial complex buddies, Abraham Lincoln is now wrong: “…Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

    Indeed the saddest part is how scared Obama must be of his Praetorian guard (military industrial complex), after being elected. The Praetorian guard must have a large BLACKMAIL DOSSIER to use on every Politician if anyone doesn’t vote the way they should!

    Maybe we should be honest and change the Pledge of Allegiance:

    “I pledge allegiance to the government of the United States of America, and to the Oligarchy for which it stands, one Nation under NSA, indivisible, with liberty and justice for the 1%.”

    • jpfitz says:

      I like your thinking noname, what kinda name is noname anyway. Your not hiding from any abc org, jk.

      Yea since those two towers magically fell straight down at free fall speed things have gotten really bad for the digital world. Just sayin.

  9. Dallas says:

    After 5 1/2 years, America continues to suffer the ravaging effects of the last Republican regime that legislated away your rights and those of your sheeple spawn.

    I urge Teapublicans to consider staying away from voting till about 2020 until we restore America to what it once was.

    • Guyver says:

      After 5 1/2 years, America continues to suffer the ravaging effects of the last Republican regime that legislated away your rights and those of your sheeple spawn.

      Spoken lie a true liberal! Can’t take responsibility for your own actions so you blame someone else for it.

      Well said!

      • Dallas says:

        In the context of this topic post by Dvorak, my opinion is accurate as the efforts to defeat SSL are all under the laws imposed by your Cheney administration. You wishing to bury this reality will be me with constant criticism and ridicule.

        You attempt to deflect from the truth to preserve what little remains of your integrity to own up to this simple truth,

        • Guyver says:

          Said the liberal whose President supports the same measures while looking the other way and blaming others as though their president is holier than thou. 😀

          • Dallas says:

            You’ve already used up all your “neener neener, you do it too” excuses.

          • Dallas says:

            Nobody called your tortilla ass and quit sucking up to Guyver. We are discussing the topic at hand and not about you.

          • Guyver says:

            We are discussing the topic at hand and not about you.

            Which was liberal hypocrisy. 😀

          • MikeN says:

            Obama has made it clear he will pick and choose which laws he will and enforce and which he won’t. So any law he uses is automatically one he endorses.

    • jpfitz says:

      Dallas, your kidding right. Aren’t you the same Dallas who thinks Snowman is a traitor. You make no sense, nsa ok to spy on civilians and subjects of all foreign govts but OMG not our financial purchases. I could make crude jokes about your type of online purchases but lets leave it to everyone’s imagination.

      Who is the potus right now? What are you trying to blame on the dullard teabaggers, obama’s taking the football from W and carrying it towards the neocons goal? Ha. Wake up. your precious is the criminal. Same as it ever was.

      • Dallas says:

        I don’t see how my position on Snowden as a criminal has anything to do with the fact that a Republican administration put in place these laws that allow the future administrations to use them.

        Your attempt to deflect from the above facts because President Obama has not made it a priority to undo these laws from the executive office is shameful.

        • LibertyLover says:

          Not made it a priority? Are you serious?


          He has defended them and expanded them.

          Are you saying he doesn’t have the willpower to stand up for what’s right?

          If that is the case, I hope no one gives him a gun with a large magazine. He might kill a bunch of kids, because, well, HE didn’t ask for the gun. It was given to him.

          What a putz.

          • Dallas says:

            Not made it a priority? Are you serious?


            He has defended them and expanded them.

            > OK, he has defended them and embraced them as a tool given to him by law. If you were president, you would use ever thing at your disposal to do your job and not give anything up. That makes you a hypocrite, but that test would never come.

            Are you saying he doesn’t have the willpower to stand up for what’s right?

            > No. You’re saying that. What I said is written up above.

            If that is the case, I hope no one gives him a gun with a large magazine. He might kill a bunch of kids, because, well, HE didn’t ask for the gun. It was given to him.

            > You’ve been watching too much Fox News. You make something up and then defend it. What a putz.

            What a putz.
            > See above. You’re the putz

          • LibertyLover says:

            OK, he has defended them and embraced them as a tool given to him by law. If you were president, you would use ever thing at your disposal to do your job and not give anything up. That makes you a hypocrite, but that test would never come.

            You are mistaken. Quit projecting.

            If I were president, I would shut that shit down so frakking fast, scientists would try to use my methods to disprove the speed of light barrier.

            Anybody worth a shit would do the same thing.

            Are you going to defend his willingness to expand on them? I guess he thought W didn’t go far enough, huh? Damn, I didn’t think you would be such an ardent Cheney supporter.

            Re: Fox News

            BWAHAHAHAHA! Don’t watch it. So, tell me, is that what they are saying, being so well-informed and all?

            IIIII’m not the putz. You’re the putz.

          • LibertyLover says:

            Still waiting on you to defend Obama’s expansion of what W started . . .

    • MikeN says:

      When Obama backtracked on wiretapping, he assured everyone that he would make sure the powers he authorized for the government were used properly.

  10. MikeN says:

    Vote on ending NSA spying program in House, 134 Republicans in favor and 83 Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi.

    Vote was 217-205. So no votes are about 100 Republican and 110 Democrat.

  11. orchidcup says:

    This is difficult to admit.

    I think Alex Jones is starting to sound less crazy.

    Terrorist cells can easily circumvent NSA surveillance by meeting in a crowded coffee shop at a corner table in the back. The last place the NSA hasn’t bugged.

    • noname says:

      You wish it was safe!

      Those pictures on the walls from “local” artist, the coffee shops are always trying to sell; well, depending on the coffee shop, NSA has hidden transmitters in the picture frames!

      NSA has a computerized/automated “dossier on every American with a SSN#. Their Financial Tracking software makes Quicken look pathetic!

      Using all the data they collected on everyone everyday, they have developed an automated People Profiler system to try and predict your future activities. It’s getting more and more accurate!

      Slave, You better not pout, You better not cry, You better watch out, I’m telling you why, NSA is watching you!




      • Tim says:

        It’s like that scene where Winston and Julia are having a tryst in the room above the antique shop. He did not dream that the old painting he’d been so fond of concealed a telescreen.

        “”But you could share in that future if you kept alive the mind as they kept alive the body, and passed on the secret doctrine that two plus two make four.

        “We are the dead,” he said.
        “We are the dead,” echoed Julia dutifully.
        “You are the dead,” said an iron voice behind them.

        They sprang apart. Winston’s entrails seemed to have turned into ice. He could see the white all round the irises of Julia’s eyes. Her face had turned a milky yellow. The smear of rouge that was still on each cheekbone stood out sharply, almost as though unconnected with the skin beneath.

        “You are the dead,” repeated the iron voice.
        “It was behind the picture,” breathed Julia.
        “It was behind the picture,” said the voice.

        The Thing:

        • noname says:

          If you ever get the chance, visit the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM). It’s just down the street from the NSA in Ft. Meade!

          It’s got all kinds of spy items and stuff and staffed by retired(?) NSA people.

          I went to it many years ago, and remember seeing a replica or the actual Great Seal bug during the tour.

          Never trust a Russian bearing gifts.

          • Tim says:

            “Never trust a Russian…”

            Or the guy that finishes out your driveway. They just put .25 cent/each diodes {rectifiers} in the cement mix and a small input of microwave energy from space, your wireless, wherever lets those ‘detectors’ modulate from very far away.

            Just like that ‘Thing’. Still, I like Theremins


          • noname says:

            ok, lets just cut to the chase.

            To make life easy, Governments and the NSA want a computerized and easily manageable way to track and control their “citizens” for their protection, fight terrorism and better government service delivery! To do so, 1st make cash transactions illegal and 2nd require everyone have a secure microchip ID implant from birth! Coupled with “Inventory Management” software, your every move and transaction can be tracked and shutdown if need be!

            Welcome to America, Upgraded!

        • Tim says:

          This xenomorphic Thing pops out of ice core scientists.

        • Bill O' says:

          This Thing is not up to quality control standards (It kinda sux)

          • jpfitz says:

            WOW, I liked that clip. Don’t ya love Bill O when he loses it.

            Have ya seen him lately. The make-up on him has him looking clownish. Its not like he lives in a cave. He lives in a wealthy section on the north shore of Long Island, with a pool and jacuzzi I’m sure.

  12. Uncle Patso says:

    Now I understand the phrase “my blood ran cold.”

  13. Glenn E. says:

    Are these “Internet Companies” also prevented from revealing that the govt, has acquired their SSL keys. If not, and shouldn’t be, then the browser security flag should not display the color green. But rather something like Orange, if the govt now has the keys, and can surveil anyone they chose, any time they chose. And perhaps Red, if they know that hackers have compromised their security. The green SSL flag shouldn’t be visible for any communication that includes more than two entities. You and the online based business or service. Sure the govt. can have the SSL keys. But not the green flag credential. Otherwise, what the hell good is SSL?!

    I’m almost 100% certain that the FBI & NSA wants the green flag SSL credential, even more than the SSL keys themselves. Otherwise, you wouldn’t spill your secrets over a known compromised SSL link. They depend on everyone believing their communications aren’t being spied on.

  14. Captain Obvious says:

    I sent some information to my accountant today using encrypted and signed email. Apparently that is a red flag to the NSA and FBI now.

  15. jpfitz says:

    The link below is from 09′ and discusses open ssl. I’m a CNC programmer not a coder though I did create a lot of macros and post processors for machine tools.

    Is what the link below explains true about ssl or is openssl different than the ssl I recognize when logging into my bank or paying a bill online. I’m guessing they are the same just implemented by different servers around the world with code hidden in the connection to users connecting. Or I’m wrong, and hope someone can explain the difference.

  16. MikeN says:

    Congress demanded that Mr Rumely provide him with his subscription list, threatening him with contempt of Congress. He said they can do whatever they want, but he was interested in free speech, and if they went forward he would provide them with a lesson on the Constitution.

    70 years ago.

  17. Say Kai Lee says:

    Shouldn’t that be Insecure Socket Layer? Just saying…


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