Tough Questions for NSA Director as Companies Forced to Pick a “Side”

nsa-logo-6-6-13NSA Director Mike Rogers had some tough questions the other day from several top security experts at the “Cybersecurity for a New America” conference in Washington, DC. There was Bruce Schneier discussing the legitimacy of backdoors but the exchange of the day was from Yahoo! CISO Alex Stamos, who asked the Director if we should build backdoors in for other countries as well.


AS: We’ll agree to disagree on that. So, if we’re going to build defects/backdoors or golden master keys for the US government, do you believe we should do so — we have about 1.3 billion users around the world — should we do for the Chinese government, the Russian government, the Saudi Arabian government, the Israeli government, the French government? Which of those countries should we give backdoors to?

MR: So, I’m not gonna… I mean, the way you framed the question isn’t designed to elicit a response.

AS: Well, do you believe we should build backdoors for other countries?

MR: My position is — hey look, I think that we’re lying that this isn’t technically feasible. Now, it needs to be done within a framework. I’m the first to acknowledge that. You don’t want the FBI and you don’t want the NSA unilaterally deciding, so, what are we going to access and what are we not going to access? That shouldn’t be for us. I just believe that this is achievable. We’ll have to work our way through it. And I’m the first to acknowledge there are international implications. I think we can work our way through this.

AS: So you do believe then, that we should build those for other countries if they pass laws?

MR: I think we can work our way through this.

Read the full transcript here.

Still, in the end though we have to pick a “side.” That is easy for an individual citizen of a country however is a much more complex line to walk for a publicly-held international company with stockholders from all over the world. An internal conflict arises between the national security of a company’s home “side” and their responsibility to maximize profits for all stockholders all over the world.


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1 comment for “Tough Questions for NSA Director as Companies Forced to Pick a “Side”

  1. March 6, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Tough Questions for NSA Director as Companies Forced to Pick a “Side” – find out more here #infosec

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