Andrew would like to be less trackable by the government. Should he ditch the smartphone and just use one of his old flip phones? Leo says the NSA could still find out who he calls and who calls him. Then they can triangulate that to find his location with cell towers. If he wants to be truly off the grid, he should get a burner phone. But that's a heck of a lot of trouble to go to.
The latest coming out of the NSA spying scandal is that the feds are spending $750 Million a year to subvert private encryption. They clearly have the desire to get rid of privacy, but Steve Gibson says they aren't anywhere near getting to the point where they can crack a back door into encryption. They can, however, pressure companies like Microsoft to put one in. Which is why open source encryption is the way to go.
Steve Gibson joins the show to talk about the latest revelations that the NSA is spending millions to break conventional encryption as they spy on us. Steve says that while the news is concerning, it only means that they're merely trying to do this. He says that the press all too often creates inflammatory headlines to sell content. There's no foundation to the rumor that the NSA has done all that. Encryption is still strong. They're just focusing on the weakest link in the chain.
The news has come out that the NSA has been spending millions every year to subvert encryption protocols by putting back doors into them for spying purposes. So, it turns out that all of that encryption may be useless in protecting your privacy from the long arm of the federal government Leo says the only real protection right now is to keep in mind that everything you do online is public.
Richard is concerned that his backup won't be safe from the NSA. Leo says that Carbonite is as good as he can get because it has a "trust no one" encryption. Only he has the key to the encryption, not them. So that makes it a good choice.
However, there is a transfer point between his ISP and Carbonite. So the government can always go there and demand the "SSL" keys. And perfect forward security prevents the US government using older keys that are outdated.
(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor).
George wants to know why it's a federal crime to open snail mail, but not a crime for other people to read email? Leo says that it's because nobody in Congress has made it a crime. The department of justice has held that email that is more than six months old can be considered "abandoned." Also, any email at work is legally the property of the employer. There is no right to privacy there. The bottom line is that laws are always behind innovation. However, the post office has been cataloging "meta data" of mail for years as well.
Jay is concerned that Google is turning over everyone's information. Leo says that there's no evidence of that. It wouldn't matter anyway because everything he does on the internet can be captured by the NSA anyway. ISPs keep everything as well. The browser doesn't stop anything.
Gammy's father in law is from Iran and he has to make a personal appearance in Iran, or use Yahoo Messenger Webcam in order to collect his retirement. Leo says that although they're using an outdated Yahoo messenger, it's impressive that Iran will allow that. Gammy should assume that any web connection over the internet isn't private. At the very least, it'll be noticed by the NSA.
Leo's recommended encrypting data to keep it from getting into the hands of the NSA, but the NSA has made it clear that it will definitely record everything then.
Pat has a Hotmail account and she's concerned that Microsoft is moving her to Outlook.com. What concerns her is that everywhere she goes online, they know her email address and they put ads in her email. Leo says that's the curse of a free email account. So Pat will have to pay for email to avoid that. What about anti spam utilities? Leo says that also will scan her email for key words to block certain messages. Pat shouldn't fear that someone is reading her mail. The NSA is reading all of our mail anyway. It's all done electronically.