For some needs, the government comes through

There's a lot of anger in America currently about the general incompetence of the federal government, but it's encouraging to see that at least one government agency is actually good at what it's paid to do:

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.
Privacy concerns aside, you've got to admire the NSA for actually conducting some good modern communications interception. Someone probably deserves a substantial bonus; he won't get it, of course, because it's a government payroll - he'll no doubt defect to the private sector eventually, or maybe the SVR will make him the proverbial un-refusable offer.

It would be fascinating to know whether the NSA is just tapping links external to the USA (presumably including links with no more than one node in the USA) or have general access to intra-USA traffic. It's also interesting to speculate on the connection between this eavesdropping and Google's move back in September to encrypt the traffic that the NSA seems to have been intercepting. Yahoo still seems to be open, based on a rather inadequate denial from their PR:

At Yahoo, a spokeswoman said: "We have strict controls in place to protect the security of our data centers, and we have not given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency."
and one has to wonder about Facebook, Apple, Amazon etc.

So congratulations, citizens of the USA - you have a productive and competent government agency! Perhaps you should have put the NSA in charge of healthcare...

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