National Security Agency

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Acronym: National Security Agency

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A USA government agency dedicated to breaking cryptographic codes, developing new cyphers and other information security tasks.

Part of the responsibility of the NSA includes monitoring and eavesdropping on communications around the world. This is presumed to include Echelon and similar programs. The NSA is thought by many to be spying on people throughout the world constantly, including within the United States.

Little is known about the NSA and its operations, despite a massive budget even larger than the CIA‘s. Until recent years the agency was virtually unknown among the public, and its existence was not even confirmed by the government. With the rise of the internet, BBS systems, and some portrayals in popular culture more people have become aware of the government spy group. A common joke is to refer to the acronym NSA as standing for “No Such Agency”, because of the covert nature of its activities and its low profile.

The NSA is said to employ more Ph.D. mathematicians than any other organization in the world, presumably for work on various cryptographic projects and “code-breaking”. As well as having the world’s largest concentration of supercomputers, the agency’s headquarters is also the second largest consumer of electricity within Maryland. The common conception is that the NSA is working on breaking encryption and various processing-intense projects. Conspiracy-theorists and others have suggested that the NSA has information and tactics for cryptography that are unknown to the world at large. Including methods to break current encryption methods, weaknesses of existing algorithms, and even advanced methods such as quantum computing, which would render some current encryption obsolete.

Of course very little is known about the NSA, so rumours and speculation abound. The agency has long been considered “the enemy” by the paranoid, hackers and crackers, conspiracy freaks, info-anarchists, and privacy advocates, as well as many others. Many currently see its goals as being directly opposed to the info-anarchist agenda.

“Careful what you say about the president. The NSA is watching!”

“This encryption is probably secure, unless you want to keep data secret from the NSA”


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