Google, Facebook Strike Back Against NSA -- With Tougher Code

Companies which rely on using user data try to block government from same data.

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013  |  Updated 12:59 PM PDT
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Google, Facebook Strike Back Against NSA -- With Tougher Code

AP

Silicon Valley is trying to keep the NSA out.

Silicon Valley firms tired of National Security Agency snooping are fighting back the best way they know how.

With code.

"Harder-to-crack" code may help shield "networks and online customer data" from government spying, according to Bloomberg News.

Facebook, Google, and Yahoo now use "strengthened encryption" to mask e-mail and social media posts -- so strong that the government won't be able to crack it until 2030.

These are all companies implicated in cooperating with government authorities, according to documents provided to media by renegade leaker Edward Snowden. So in distancing themselves from the spying, they must also prove to customers that their data is safe.

All the companies comply with court orders signed by judged demanding data, but the NSA has also "tapped fiber-optic cables" to "siphon off" user data.

Google's digital keys are now twice as long, and Facebook and Yahoo are now moving towards 2048-bit digital keys, according to company spokespeople.

In the meantime, of course, users' private data will continue to be mined -- by the companies themselves, for advertising purposes.

According to Bloomberg, "Google, Yahoo and Facebook generated $44.4 billion in advertising revenue so far in 2013 in part by mining users’ private data."

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