Technologists’ Submit Comments to the NSA Review Group

Written by Joseph Lorenzo Hall

Today, a distinguished group of forty-seven of the world’s leading technologists – with extensive expertise in security, privacy, and cryptography – submitted public comments to the NSA Review Group, formally the Director of National Intelligence Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology.

These technologists:

  • emphasized the need for deep technical expertise in the work of the Review Group and, more generally, in oversight mechanisms for the NSA surveillance programs;
  • described how the NSA’s efforts to subvert many forms of encryption online and to plant backdoors in secure communications products, standards, software, and hardware undermine security for everyone online; and,
  • argued in an increasingly global information society, commitments to privacy and civil liberties necessarily must extend to non-U.S. persons.

The comments also include an appendix of questions from the group – which includes me and my colleague Alissa Cooper – that it believes are critical for the Review Group to address in its work.

The NSA Review Group was established by President Obama to study the NSA’s activities and return with advice about how “in light of advancements in technology, the United States can employ its technical collection capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognizing our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure.”

Technologists from the Center for Democracy & Technology and the Electronic Frontier Foundation coordinated the production of these comments. CDT submitted its own comments to the NSA Review Group yesterday.

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