By Julian Hattem - 07/07/14 04:48 PM EDT
The National Security Agency is the “best hacker in the entire world,” according to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), and Congress needs to do something to stop it.
“If the Chinese government had proposed to put in a backdoor into our computers and then paid a company $10 million to make that the standard, we’d be furious,” he said in a pre-recorded statement delivered at a panel discussion on Monday.
Last year, documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed that the spy agency entered into a $10 million contract with computer security firm RSA to create flaws in its encryption that would serve as a “backdoor” for NSA agents to sneak into some products. The news rattled the cybsersecurity sector and sparked fears that the agency was deliberately undermining security across the Internet.
In June, the House approved a measure backed by Grayson to prevent that kind of move by banning the NSA from undermining cyber encryption standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
“These are the first steps that we’re taking to take back our privacy, take back our own security, take back our freedom, and I welcome your help in doing that,” he said. “It’s one of the greatest endeavors of modern life to make sure that we can protect modern life from the encroachments of Big Brother.”
The firebrand liberal was joined at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute panel by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), another critic of the spy agency who pushed for Congress to prevent “backdoor” searches on Americans without a warrant in pre-recorded remarks of her own.
“We need to continue pushing to protect private information and data security and we need the senate to follow suit,” she said.
Lofgren and other lawmakers introduced a measure to the Defense spending bill last month to prevent the NSA from performing the warrantless searches, which passed with broad bipartisan support.