The NSA "support of encryption" is 'disingenuous' says EFF

Last updated: July 5, 2023 Reading time: minutes

CAMBRIDGE, Ma. – Cambridge Cyber Summit by MIT – The NSA came out in support of encryption. But the stand was quickly challenged by the privacy advocates, who criticized the NSA agency for having a different definition of the word “encryption” than the rest.

The NSA general counsel, Glenn Gerstell, said in a statement that the agency “believes in strong encryption” while talking to the “Privacy vs. Security: Beyond the Zero-Sum Game” panel.

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Executive Director of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Cindy Cohn, an attendee of the panel took an aggressive stand and told the NSA that when speaking of the term encryption, it should use asterisks at the end of the encryption word.

Cohn said, “I have been in meetings with people from the FBI and NSA and when they say we believe strong encryption what they mean is strong encryption that only THEY have access to.”

“It sounds disingenuous; it seems that what they mean by strong encryption isn’t near the same as what the rest of us say,” Cohn said.