(Reason) It’s no secret that intelligence agencies don’t like encryption technology—at least, they don’t like it in the hands of anybody other than themselves. The U.S. government classified encryption as “munitions” subject to export controls for years, only to be defeated by the amazing power of the Internet, books and people’s brains to transport information across borders without regard to laws.

Phil Zimmermann, the creator of PGP (and, more recently, a co-founder of Silent Circle), was even investigated for his efforts, though charges were never filed. Now comes word that the National Security Agency and the U.K.’s GCHQ have been busy at work cracking common online encryption systems, paying tech companies to build back doors into their security and even laboring in secret to weaken the accepted standards on which encryption is based.

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