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Friday, August 09, 2013

Winner of NSA Embarrassed with PRISM

It looks like the winner of 2013 security award, which was sponsored by American spooks at the NSA, is a bit embarrassed. Joseph Bonneau, working at the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, is supposed to be over the moon at winning this prestigious award. Actually, his work “The science of guessing” was selected by top academics in the security world as the best scientific cybersecurity paper in 2013.


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Joseph Bonneau admitted he was honored to have been recognized by the distinguished academic panel gathered by the NSA. However, he feels a little embarrassed about the award after the news broke that the NSA, with the backing of sockpuppets on both sides of the political spectrum in the United States, have been spying on everyone’s private communications on an unprecedented scale.

Like everyone in the community of cryptographers and security engineers, Joseph was sad that they failed to better inform the public “about the inherent dangers and questionable utility of mass surveillance”. Bonneau announced he was ashamed the public has let politicians sneak the country down this path and wanted to make it clear that in accepting the NSA award he didn’t condone the NSA's surveillance in any way. He claimed that he doesn’t think a free society is compatible with such an outfit as the NSA in its current form.

In the meantime, Bonneau was glad to get the opportunity to visit with the NSA and was very grateful for his hosts’ genuine hospitality. A group of engineers turned up to hear Joseph’s presentation, asked sharp questions, understood and cared about the privacy implications of studying password information. Still, the winner believes that the US’ core problems are in Washington and not in Fort Meade.

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