Google Engineer Wins Award From NSA, Tells Them They Should Be Abolished

/ 3 years ago


Dr. Joseph Bonneau recently discovered that he was the winner of the NSA’s first annual “Science of Security (SoS) Competition.” Which was setup to honor the best scientific papers about national security, in a bid to strengthen NSA collaborations with researchers. The award honoured Bonneau for his paper on the nature of passwords.

Yet for all his happiness in winning, Joseph Bonneau is just as disheartened by the practices of the NSA as the rest of us and he had the following to say via his personal blog.

“On a personal note, I’d be remiss not to mention my conflicted feelings about winning the award given what we know about the NSA’s widespread collection of private communications and what remains unknown about oversight over the agency’s operations. Like many in the community of cryptographers and security engineers, I’m sad that we haven’t better informed the public about the inherent dangers and questionable utility of mass surveillance. And like many American citizens I’m ashamed we’ve let our politicians sneak the country down this path.

In accepting the award I don’t condone the NSA’s surveillance. Simply put, I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organisation like the NSA in its current form.”

He wasn’t done there either and while being interviewed by Andy Cush of Animal, Bonneau continued to share his feelings on the NSA.

I’d rather have it abolished than persist in its current form. I think there’s a question about whether it’s possible to reform the NSA into something that’s more reasonable…But my feeling based on what I’ve read is that I don’t want to live in a country with an organization like the NSA is right now.

Bonneau had considered turning down the award, but decided to be the bigger man and help bridge the academic gaps with the NSA, a door that has been mostly closed until now.  Of course his response is that of many of us and with learning that he had won Bonneau gained a small audience to which he could share his opinions about the NSA right to their faces.

Thank you Tikkun for providing us with this information.

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  • Wayne

    The NSA handing out a honourable award?? It’s hypocritical at best. The Gestapo hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s just evolved.