Tech Law: NSA spying negates attorney-client privilege

by Paul Jacobson (@pauljacobson) To say recent revelations about the US National Security Agency’s global surveillance campaign are unsettling is an understatement. While we are still getting to terms with the extent of the surveillance we have all been subject to, a few things are pretty clear:

The NSA has been collecting both the metadata relating to our digital communications as well as their content (the US government has maintained that it does not collect the content of US citizens’ communications but that has been challenged).
Internet services we rely on are not immune to the NSA’s campaign. On the contrary, their data is being accessed, either directly or indirectly, and stored for future reference in case they do something illegal or problematic in the future.

You may think that if you don’t rely on the larger Web service providers (apparently with the exception of Twitter which, as I understand it, refuses to co-operate with the NSA) you are immune from scrutiny but that is a fallacy. The NSA has basically tied itself into the Internet’s backbone and monitors all traffic passing through the routers and infrastucture it can see. What this means is that if the data you send or receive passes through any of the Web services that have been co-opted by the NSA under the USA’s secrecy laws or the very Internet infrastructure the NSA is monitoring, your data is exposed to the NSA’s scrutiny.

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