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How to get the NSA’s attention

Use privacy tools, go directly to jail. OK, that's not exactly the bombshell revealed by Thursday's installment of leaked NSA documents, but the truth is close enough for serious discomfort. According to the documents, using privacy tools that encrypt your communications and hide your identity is like waving a red flag in front of the surveillance state bull.

Within minutes of the release of two new documents describing the NSA's policies on what communications data can be gathered without a warrant, privacy geeks seized upon one particular passage:

In the context of a cryptanalytic effort, maintenance of technical data bases requires retention of all communications that are enciphered or reasonably believed to contain secret meaning, and sufficient duration may consist of any period of time during which encrypted material is subject to, or of use in, cryptanalysis....

In other words, as Cato fellow, Julian Sanchez tweeted, if you use encryption to make your communications private, and the NSA discovers that, it can grab your data and hold on to it until it cracks the code.

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