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Brad Smith, General Counsel of Microsoft, says that "government snooping potentially now constitutes an 'advanced persistent threat,' alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks", if allegations of spying reported in the press are true.

Unfortunately, I have only time enough to highlight this development, which was reported by NBC News. The comments are on Smith's blog post: Protecting customer data from government snooping.

Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft have all moved or are moving to 2,048-bit encryption. This increases the processing power needed to break into encrypted data, making it more costly (and therefore less likely) for it to be used to routinely snoop. This doesn't, of course, stop metadata analysis of the routing, but it makes deep packet sniffing perhaps a bit more challenging.

In addition, Microsoft said it would notify targets of orders from the government to turn over data, unless that order came with a gag order. However, it also said it would challenge any gag order in court.

These companies probably are the only ones with the power to fight back. So, it's important that they do that. Perhaps this will put the breaks on the slide we've seen.

Also, for the first time to my knowledge, President Obama indicated he thinks spying has gone too far. While this is all talk because it doesn't come with changes in the law or putting any of those who abused this power behind bars, at least he's talking about reforms.


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