First on the list is news sure to rile Germany into a rage, once again. Two servers, one in Berlin and one in Nuremberg, are allegedly under NSA surveillance. At least these two have been infected with XKeyscore, the powerful spying software used by the NSA to steal data from servers across the globe.
Of special interest is Tor, presumably a driving factor behind the development of XKeyscore. No surprise there, as anonymous browsing is certainly against everything the NSA stands for.
Anyone who has used Tor (of just encryption) is considered a terror suspect, and is subject to monitoring. That has already been established by high ranking officials within the agency, and is a frightening prospect. But it goes further than even that. Volunteers for the Tor project are being targeted and monitored specifically.
What makes this such a bizarre twist is that the Tor network is a government funded project. The US has been putting money into the funding of this private browser as a means of providing a protected way for the oppressed to share information. For example, journalists and bloggers in nations where sharing information could get them imprisoned, or killed.
It’s now more clear than ever that the NSA is operating entirely separate from the rest of the government. It may be one of the more direct indications that other truly didn’t know what was happening behind those shady walls. So far, that has been mostly speculation.
Other services are also subject to scrutiny. If you have looked for information on, or used, other privacy specific software like protected email addresses, proxies or protection services like HotSpotShield, you are also likely to be on a list.
Simple web searches can now be deemed suspicious, and put up flags using the broad rules of XKeyscore. It is a further level of violation and paranoia that shows just how out of hand this agency truly is.
The New Extremist
If there was anything out of this report that I didn’t expect, it was the fact that the the Linux Journal, deemed the “Original Magazine of the Linux Community” is considered extremist.
I’ll say that again: the NSA has named the Linux Journal, an extremist forum. Anyone who is a part of that community are now potentially labeled extremists.