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Thread: Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source - Guardian

  1. #161
    Senior Member Sinbad's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
    Pakistan England

    Re: Snowden leaks: NSA 'can collect all calls in foreign nation'

    Astonishing amount of snooping. Snowden will never be able to return to the USA. He has humiliated them

  2. #162
    Member Shahabuddin Khurram Javed's Avatar
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    Feb 2014

    From Merkel to Tymoshenko: NSA spied on 122 world leaders, Snowden docs reveal#

    The NSA’s data base contains information obtained during the surveillance of over a hundred world leaders, new leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed.

    Der Spiegel has looked through a top secret presentation by NSA’s Center for Content Extraction, which is responsible for automated analysis of all types of text data.

    According to the document, the leaders of 122 states were among the high-ranked targets of the US intelligence.

    However, only 12 names were revealed by the German journalists in the publication as an example.

    With the heads of state arranged alphabetically by first name, the list begins with ‘A’ as in Abdullah Badawi, the former Malaysian prime minister.

    He’s followed by Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who appears so high due to being mentioned under his alias, Abu Mazin.

    The catalogue of world leaders under surveillance goes on with the heads of Peru, Somalia, Guatemala and Colombia right up to Aleksander Lukashenko of Belarus.

    The list is completed by Yulia Tymoshenko at No.122, who used to be Ukrainian prime minister from February-September 2005 and from December 2007 till March 2010.

    Merkel appears on the document between former Mali president, Amadou Toumani Toure, and Syrian leader, Bashar Assad.

    The document indicates that the German chancellor has been included in the so-called Target Knowledge Database (TKB), which includes “complete profiles” of the individuals under surveillance.

    The automated name recognition system, Nymrod, which deals with transcripts of intercepted fax, voice and computer-to-computer communications, has provided around 300 citations for Merkel alone, Der Spiegel wrote.

    The authors of the NSA presentation especially stressed the effectiveness of the automated capture, with manual maintenance of high-ranking targets database being “a slow and painstaking process”.

    Der Spiegel were also shown a weekly report from the Special Sources Operations (SSO) division, which proves that the NSA had received a court order to spy on Merkel.

    According to the paper, FISA, the special court responsible for intelligence agency requests, provided the NSA with authorization to monitor “Germany” on March 7, 2013.

    The new Snowden leaks are significant for Germany as they prove that Chancellor Merkel was an official target for surveillance by the US.

    The office of German Federal Public Prosecutor, Harald Range, still hasn’t made up its mind over suing the National Security Agency.

    The allegations that the NSA monitored Merkel’s mobile phone and conducted mass surveillance on the communications of millions of Germans are currently under review by the prosecutors.


    Further clarified in below Article...Click image for larger version. 

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    Documents show that Britain's GCHQ intelligence service infiltrated German Internet firms and America's NSA obtained a court order to spy on Germany and collected information about the chancellor in a special database. Is it time for the country to open a formal espionage investigation?

    The headquarters of Stellar, a company based in the town of Hürth near Cologne, are visible from a distance. Seventy-five white antennas dominate the landscape. The biggest are 16 meters (52 feet) tall and kept in place by steel anchors. It is an impressive sight and serves as a popular backdrop for scenes in TV shows, including the German action series "Cobra 11."


    Stellar operates a satellite ground station in Hürth, a so-called "teleport." Its services are used by companies and institutions; Stellar's customers include Internet providers, telecommunications companies and even a few governments. "The world is our market," is the high-tech company's slogan.
    Using their ground stations and leased capacities from satellites, firms like Stellar -- or competitors like Cetel in the nearby village of Ruppichteroth or IABG, which is headquartered in Ottobrunn near Munich -- can provide Internet and telephone services in even the most remote areas. They provide communications links to places like oil drilling platforms, diamond mines, refugee camps and foreign outposts of multinational corporations and international organizations.

    Super high-speed Internet connections are required at the ground stations in Germany in order to ensure the highest levels of service possible. Most are connected to major European Internet backbones that offer particularly high bandwidth.

    Probing German Internet Traffic

    The service they offer isn't just attractive to customers who want to improve their connectivity. It is also of interest to Britain's GCHQ intelligence service, which has targeted the German companies. Top secret documents from the archive of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden viewed by SPIEGEL show that the British spies surveilled employees of several German companies, and have also infiltrated their networks.

    One top-secret GCHQ paper claims the agency sought "development of in-depth knowledge of key satellite IP service providers in Germany."

    The document, which is undated, states that the goal of the effort was developing wider knowledge of Internet traffic flowing through Germany. The 26-page document explicitly names three of the German companies targeted for surveillance: Stellar, Cetel and IABG.

    The operation, carried out at listening stations operated jointly by GCHQ with the NSA in Bude, in Britain's Cornwall region, is largely directed at Internet exchange points used by the ground station to feed the communications of their large customers into the broadband Internet. In addition to spying on the Internet traffic passing through these nodes, the GCHQ workers state they are also seeking to identify important customers of the German teleport providers, their technology suppliers as well as future technical trends in their business sector.

    The document also states that company employees are targets -- particularly engineers -- saying that they should be detected and "tasked," intelligence jargon for monitoring. In the case of Stellar, the top secret GCHQ paper includes the names and email addresses of 16 employees, including CEO Christian Steffen. In addition, it also provides a list of the most-important customers and partners. Contacted by SPIEGEL, Stellar CEO Steffen said he had not been aware of any attempts by intelligence services to infiltrate or hack his company. "I am shocked," he said.

    'Servers of Interest'

    Intelligence workers in Bude also appear to have succeeded in infiltrating competitor Cetel. The document states that workers came across four "servers of interest" and were able to create a comprehensive list of customers. According to Cetel CEO Guido Neumann, the company primarily serves customers in Africa and the Middle East and its clients include non-governmental organizations as well as a northern European country that uses Cetel to connect its diplomatic outposts to the Internet. Neumann also says he was surprised when he learned his firm had been a target.

    The firm IABG in Ottobrunn appears to have been of particular interest to the intelligence service -- at least going by a short notation that only appears next to the Bavarian company's name. It notes, "this may have already been looked at by NSA NAC," a reference to the NSA's network analysis center.

    IABG's history goes back to the 1970s. The company was established as a test laboratory for aerospace and space technologies. The German Defense Ministry was an important client as well. Although the company has been privately held since 1993, it has continued to play a role in a number of major projects connected at least in part to the government. For example, it operated the testing facility for Germany's Transrapid super high-speed maglev train and also conducted testing on the Airbus A380 super jumbo jet and the Ariane rocket, the satellite launcher at the heart of the European space program.

    IABG also does considerable business with the Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces. The company states that its "defense and security" unit is "committed to the armed forces and their procurement projects." These include solutions for "security issues, for prevention and reactions against dangers like terrorism and attacks against critical infrastructure."

    Like Stellar and Cetel, the company also operates a satellite ground station -- one that apparently got hacked, according to the GCHQ document. It includes a list of IABG routers and includes their network addresses. In addition, it contains the email addresses of 16 employees at the company named as possible targets. IABG did not respond to a request for comment from SPIEGEL. In a statement, GCHQ said it does not comment on intelligence-related issues but "all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate."

    Classic Acts of Espionage

    Monitoring companies and their employees along with the theft of customer lists are classic acts of economic espionage. Indeed, such revelations ought be a case for the German federal public prosecutors' office, which in the past has initiated investigations into comparable cases involving Russia or China.

    So far, however, German Federal Public Prosecutor Harald Range has been struggling with the NSA issue. Some experienced investigators have had a problem applying the same criteria used to assess intelligence services like Russia's to those of the United States and Britain. Federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe have provided a preliminary assessment, but so far no decision has been made about whether the agency will move forward with legal proceedings.

    Under review at the moment are allegations that the NSA monitored the chancellor's mobile phone and also conducted mass surveillance on the communications of millions of Germans. Range recently told the Berlin-based daily Die Tageszeitung the affair was "an extremely complicated issue."

    "I am currently reviewing whether reasonable suspicion even exists for an actionable criminal offense," he told the newspaper. "Only if I can affirm that can I then address the question of whether a judiciary inquiry would run contrary to the general public interest -- a review required for any espionage-related crime" in Germany. A decision is expected soon.

    The launch of legal proceedings against GCHQ agents or NSA employees would quickly become a major political issue that would further burden already tense trans-Atlantic relations. An additional problem is the fact that Range is in possession of very few original documents, particularly those pertaining to the NSA's monitoring of Chancellor Merkel.

    A secret NSA document dealing with high-ranking targets has provided further indications that Merkel was a target. The document is a presentation from the NSA's Center for Content Extraction, whose multiple tasks include the automated analysis of all types of text data. The lists appear to contain 122 country leaders. Twelve names are listed as an example, including Merkel's.

    The list begins with "A," as in Abdullah Badawi, the former Malaysian prime minister, and continues with the presidents of Peru, Somalia, Guatemala and Colombia right up to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The final name on the list, No. 122, is Yulia Tymoshenko, who was Ukrainian prime minister at the time. The NSA listed the international leaders alphabetically by their first name, with Tymoshenko listed under "Y". Merkel is listed under "A" as the ninth leader, right behind Malawian President Amadou Toumani Touré, but before Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

    Graphic: Chief of State CitationsZoom
    Graphic: Chief of State Citations
    The document indicates that Angela Merkel has been placed in the so-called "Target Knowledge Database" (TKB), the central database of individual targets. An internal NSA description states that employees can use it to analyze "complete profiles" of target persons. The responsible NSA unit praises the automated machine-driven administration of collected information about high-value targets.
    The searchable sources cited in the document include, among others, the signals intelligence database "Marina," which contains metadata ingested from sources around the world. The unit also gives special attention to promoting a system for automated name recognition called "Nymrod". The document states that some 300 automatically generated "cites," or citations, are provided for Angela Merkel alone. The citations in "Nymrod" are derived from intelligence agencies, transcripts of intercepted fax, voice and computer-to-computer communication. According to internal NSA documents, it is used to "find information relating to targets that would otherwise be tough to track down." Each of the names contained in Nymrod is considered a "SIGINT target."

    The manual maintenance of the database with high-ranking targets is a slow and painstaking process, the document notes, and fewer than 200,000 targets are managed through the system. Automated capture, by contrast, simplifies the saving of the data and makes it possible to manage more than 3 million entries, including names and the citations connected to them.

    The table included in the document indicates the capture and maintenance of records pertaining to Merkel already appears to have been automated. In any case, the document indicates that a manual update was not available in May 2009. The document could be another piece of the puzzle for investigators in Karlsruhe because it shows that Chancellor Merkel was an official target for spying.

    In addition to surveillance of the chancellor, the Federal Prosecutor's Office is also exploring the question of whether the NSA conducted mass espionage against the German people. The internal NSA material also includes a weekly report dating from March 2013 from the Special Sources Operations (SSO) division, the unit responsible for securing NSA access to major Internet backbone structures, like fiber optic cables.

    In the document, the team that handles contact with US telecommunications providers like AT&T or Verizon reports on the legal foundations with which it monitors the data of certain countries. According to the SSO report, FISA, the special court responsible for intelligence agency requests, provided the NSA with authorization to monitor "Germany" on March 7, 2013. The case number provided in the ruling is 13-319.

    A License to Spy

    The documents do not provide sufficient information to precisely determine the types of data included in the order, and the NSA has said it will not comment on the matter. However, lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union believe it provides the NSA with permission to access the communications of all German citizens, regardless whether those affected are suspected of having committed an offense or not. Under the FISA Amendments Act, the NSA is permitted to conduct blanket surveillance in foreign countries without any requirement to submit individual cases for review by the court, whose deliberations and rulings are top secret.

    According to the partial list in the document, the court has provided similar authorization for countries including, China, Mexico, Japan, Venezuela, Yemen, Brazil, Sudan, Guatemala, Bosnia and Russia. In practice, the NSA uses this permission in diverse ways -- sometimes it uses it to monitor telecommunications companies, and at others it surveils individuals.
    "So far, we have no knowledge that Internet nodes in Germany have been spied on by the NSA," Hans-Georg Maassen, president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, which is also responsible for counterintelligence measures, said last summer.

    It's also possible the Americans don't even have to do that, at least not directly. It's quite feasible they have better access through major US providers like AT&T or Verizon whose infrastructure is used to process a major share of global Internet traffic. The NSA could use that infrastructure to access data from Germany. This would be totally legal from the American perspective -- at least according to the FISA court.


  3. #163
    Senior Member Red Dragon's Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    China China

    NSA installed backdoors in widely used technology

  4. #164
    Senior Member ArshadK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Pakistan Pakistan

    Court gave NSA broad leeway in surveillance, documents show

    Virtually no foreign government is off-limits for the National Security Agency, which has been authorized to intercept information from individuals “concerning” all but four countries on Earth, according to top-secret documents.

    The United States has long had broad no-spying arrangements with those four countries — Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — in a group known collectively with the United States as the Five Eyes. But a classified 2010 legal certification and other documents indicate the NSA has been given a far more elastic authority than previously known, one that allows it to intercept through U.S. companies not just the communications of its overseas targets, but any communications about its targets as well.

    The certification — approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courtand included among a set of documents leaked by former NSA contractorEdward Snowden — lists 193 countries that would be of valid interest for U.S. intelligence. The certification also permitted the agency to gather intelligence about entities such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency, among others.

    The NSA is not necessarily targeting all the countries or organizationsidentified in the certification, affidavits and an accompanying exhibit; it has only been given authority to do so. Still, the privacy implications are far-reaching, civil liberties advocates say, because of the wide spectrum of people who might be engaged in communication about foreign governments and entities and whose communications might be of interest to the United States.

    “These documents show both the potential scope of the government’s surveillance activities and the exceedingly modest role the court plays in overseeing them,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, who had the documents described to him.

    NSA officials, who declined to comment on the certification or acknowledge its authenticity, stressed the constraints placed on foreign intelligence-gathering. The collection must relate to a foreign intelligence requirement — there are thousands — set for the intelligence agencies by the president, director of national intelligence and various departments through the so-called National Intelligence Priorities Framework.

    Furthermore, former government officials said, it is prudent for the certification to list every country — even those whose affairs do not seem to immediately bear on U.S. national security interests or foreign policy.

    “It’s not impossible to imagine a humanitarian crisis in a country that’s friendly to the United States, where the military might be expected on a moment’s notice to go in and evacuate all Americans,” said a former senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

    “If that certification did not list the country,” the NSA could not gather intelligence under the law, the former official said.

    The documents shed light on a little-understood process that is central to one of the NSA’s most significant surveillance programs: collection of the e-mails and phone calls of foreign targets under Section 702 of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act.

    The foreign government certification, signed by the attorney general and director of national intelligence, is one of three approved annually by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, pursuant to the law. The other two relate to counterterrorism and counterproliferation, according to the documents and former officials.

    Under the Section 702 program, the surveillance court also approves rules for surveillance targeting and for protecting Americans’ privacy. The certifications, together with the National Intelligence Priorities Framework, serve as the basis for targeting a person or an entity.

    The documents underscore the remarkable breadth of potential “foreign intelligence” collection. Though the FISA Amendments Act grew out of an effort to place under statute a surveillance program devoted to countering terrorism, the result was a program far broader in scope.

    An affidavit in support of the 2010 foreign government certification stated that the NSA believes foreigners who will be targeted for collection “possess, are expected to receive and/or are likely to communicate foreign intelligence information concerning these foreign powers.”

    That language could allow for surveillance of academics, journalists and human-rights researchers. A Swiss academic who has information on the German government’s position in the run-up to an international trade negotiation, for instance, could be targeted if the government has determined there is a foreign intelligence need for that information. If a U.S. college professor e-mails the Swiss professor’s e-mail address or phone number to a colleague, the American’s e-mail could be collected as well, under the program’s court-approved rules.

    Even the no-spy agreements with the Five Eye countries have exceptions. The agency’s principal targeting system automatically filters out phone calls from Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But it does not do so for their 28 sovereign territories, such as the British Virgin Islands. An NSA policy bulletin distributed in April 2013 said filtering out those country codes would slow the system down.

    “Intelligence requirements, whether satisfied through human sources or electronic surveillance, involve information that may touch on almost every foreign country,” said Timothy Edgar, former privacy officer at the Office of Director of National Intelligence and now a visiting fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Affairs.

    Those efforts could include surveillance of all manner of foreign intelligence targets — anything from learning about Russian anti-submarine warfare to Chinese efforts to hack into American companies, he said. “It’s unlikely the NSA would target academics, journalists or human-rights researchers if there was any other way of getting information,” Edgar said.

    A spokeswoman for the NSA, Vanee Vines, said the agency may only target foreigners “reasonably believed to be outside the United States.”

    Vines noted that in January, President Obama issued a policy directive that stated that U.S. surveillance “shall be as tailored as feasible.” He also directed that the United States no longer spy on dozens of foreign heads of state and that sensitive targeting decisions be subject to high-level review.

    “In short, there must be a particular intelligence need, policy approval and legal authorization for U.S. signals intelligence activities, including activities conducted pursuant to Section 702,” Vines said.

    On Friday, the director of national intelligence released a transparency report stating that in 2013 the government had targeted nearly 90,000 foreign persons or organizations for foreign surveillance under the program. Some tech-industry lawyers say the number is relatively low, considering several billion people use U.S. e-mail services.

    Still, some lawmakers are concerned that the potential for intrusions on Americans’ privacy grows under the 2008 law because the government is intercepting not just communications of its targets, but communications about its targets as well. The expansiveness of the foreign powers certification increases that concern.

    In a 2011 FISA court opinion, a judge using an NSA-provided sample estimated that the agency could be collecting as many as 46,000 wholly domestic e-mails a year that mentioned a particular target’s e-mail address or phone number in what is referred to as “about” collection.

    “When Congress passed Section 702 back in 2008, most members of Congress had no idea that the government was collecting Americans’ communications simply because they contained a particular individual’s contact information,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has co-sponsored legislation to narrow “about” collection authority, said in an e-mail to The Post. “If ‘about the target’ collection were limited to genuine national security threats, there would be very little privacy impact. In fact, this collection is much broader than that, and it is scooping up huge amounts of Americans’ wholly domestic communications.”

    Government officials argue that the wholly domestic e-mails represent a tiny fraction — far less than 1 percent — of the volume collected. They point to court-imposed rules to protect the privacy of U.S. persons whose communications are picked up in error or because they are in contact with foreign targets.

    In general, if Americans’ identities are not central to the import of a communication, they must be masked before being shared with another agency. Communications collected from companies that operate high-volume cables — instead of directly from technology firms such as Yahoo or Google — are kept for two years instead of five. Some of the most sensitive ones are segregated and may not be used absent written permission from the NSA director.

    Privacy advocates say the rules are riddled with exceptions. They point out that wholly domestic communications may be kept and shared if they contain significant foreign intelligence, a term that is defined broadly, or evidence of a crime. They also note that the rules allow NSA access to certain attorney-client communications, pending review by the agency’s general counsel.

    Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Law Center, expressed concern about the prospect for capturing e-mails and phone calls of law-abiding foreigners. “The breadth of the certification suggests that the court is authorizing the government to spy on average foreigners and doesn’t exercise much if any control beyond that,” she said.

    Some former officials say that the court’s role has been appropriately limited when it comes to foreign targeting decisions, which traditionally have been the purview of the executive branch. The court’s role generally has focused on ensuring that domestic surveillance is targeted at foreign spies or agents of a foreign power.

    “Remember, the FISA court is not there to protect the privacy interests of foreign people,” the former defense official said. “That’s not its purpose, however noble the cause might be. Its purpose is to protect the privacy interests of persons guaranteed those protections under the Constitution.”

    The only reason the court has oversight of the NSA program is that Congress in 2008 gave the government a new authority to gather intelligence from U.S. companies that own the Internet cables running through the United States, former officials noted.

    Edgar, the former privacy officer at the Office of Director of National Intelligence, said ultimately he believes the authority should be narrowed. “There are valid privacy concerns with leaving these collection decisions entirely in the executive branch,” he said. “There shouldn’t be broad collection, using this authority, of foreign government information without any meaningful judicial role that defines the limits of what can be collected.”
    Court gave NSA broad leeway in surveillance, documents show - The Washington Post

    List of foreign governments and organizations authorized for surveillance
    This exhibit lists the 193 foreign governments as well as foreign factions, political organizations and other entities that were part of a 2010 certification approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. These are the entities about which the NSA may conduct surveillance, for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence. Each year a new certification must be approved by the court to permit such surveillance under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.

  5. #165
    Senior Member Mazea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Iran Netherlands

    Snowden leaks spur new crop of secure phones, communications

    Public concerns about the U.S. government's secretive surveillance programs exposed by Edward Snowden have spawned a slew of encryption products and privacy services that aim to make electronic spying more difficult.

    Two products brought out in the past five weeks illustrate the rapid development of the new marketplace: Blackphone, a handset which started shipping on June 30 for $629, and Signal, a free app that appeared on the iPhone app store last week.

    They are among an array of offerings to emerge since Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, last year leaked documents that showed the U.S. government harvested enormous amounts of data from the likes of Google Inc, Yahoo Inc, Microsoft Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc.

    Though they have different business philosophies, target markets and tactical approaches, the companies behind Blackphone and Signal share an underlying encryption technique, world-class cryptographers, and an anti-government stance.

    "In an environment of increasingly pervasive surveillance, we want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to be able to organize and communicate securely," Signal maker Open Whisper Systems wrote on its blog.

    Secure communications will be a major topic at two key hacking conferences in Las Vegas this week: Black Hat, which is aimed at professionals, and Def Con, which attracts many amateurs.

    Blackphone uses software from one of its backers, Silent Circle, that allows users to send encrypted voice calls and texts to one another. Silent Circle's software is already available for iPhone and Android phones, but the company says Blackphone is more secure because it uses a new operating system - based on Android - that makes it harder for hackers to take control of the phone and eavesdrop.

    Silent Circle recently expanded its service by allowing encrypted calls to landlines. That feature has helped its sales rate triple in the past three months, said Silent Circle Chief Revenue Officer Vic Hyder. He declined to give subscriber figures but said Chevron Corp and Walt Disney Co were among the company's major corporate customers.

    Supported mainly by grants, Signal maker Open Whisper Systems was co-founded by security researcher Moxie Marlinspike and already has a compatible Android version called RedPhone. The company said Signal had 70,000 downloads on the first day.

    Marlinspike said the company may charge in the future for extra services, but the basic functions of the app should remain free forever. "Open Whisper Systems is a project rather than a company, and the project's objective is not financial profit," he wrote on his personal blog.

    An encrypted chat service popular with security professionals is Wickr. The free service relies on heavy encryption that is considered unbreakable for the foreseeable future if implemented correctly.

    Wickr does not use the open-source software that is the industry standard, which means security experts cannot inspect its software code. But Wickr says it will soon post results of security audits by well-regarded firms, and it is offering a$200,000 reward for anyone who breaks its system.

    Wickr Chief Executive Nico Sell, a longtime official at Def Con, said she plans to add a desktop version of Wickr soon.


    Civil liberties enthusiasts have welcomed the proliferation of new privacy-protecting software and services, but some law enforcement and intelligence agents are concerned that they make it more difficult for agents to intercept communications.

    "It's a significant problem, and it's continuing to get worse," Amy S. Hess, executive assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told the Washington Post. An FBI spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

    Experts said it was unlikely that any communications system can be 100 percent safe from government interception. The goal for some users would be simply to make it expensive for the authorities to eavesdrop on them without good reason.

    The variety of new services can be confusing for consumers, who must wade through marketing hype for unproven products and seek out reviews by experts. Knowing the limitations of these services could be as important as picking the right product.

    "When people make claims about 'military-grade security' and being 'NSA-proof,' that doesn't pass the laugh test," said security researcher Kenneth White, the director of a nonprofit project that audits cryptography-dependent services.

    However, he praised both Blackphone and Signal, saying the people behind those products had extensive industry experience.

    Over the next few years, it is likely that many more privacy services will be introduced. The majority will likely vanish amid the competition and confusion, technologists say.

    "There's going to be a lot of carnage," Wickr's Sell said.

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