The Latest on the NSA Encryption Wars

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Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- On today's "Reganomix," Silent Circle Founder and CEO Philip Zimmermann discusses the NSA cracking encryption and the issue of online privacy with Trish Regan. They speak on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)

There is a secret war being fought over your must -- most basic privacy.

We take for granted that it will be transmitted into code.

Would it surprise you to learn that the government has been working for decades to decrypt?

The government can decrypt anything, and that is what it is doing.

He created encryption software in the 1990's. it made him the target of an investigation by the clinton administration.

Philip zimmerman, welcome to "street smart." the government says it can decode anything.

Is that true?

No.

they have the capability of breaking into the computing platform you are using, or breaking into the router you are using and redirecting your web traffic or getting into your pc so that when you type in your password or your passphrase, they can log those keystrokes, or other kinds of things that infiltrate your computer.

In some cases, they can break the encryption, but only in some cases.

If you do a good job and careful design of your encryption protocols -- you can keep yourself and your information private?

Right.

If you're not a cryptographer, if you get your software from someone who is -- then you might be safe.

Are we in a new age here, where privacy is suddenly -- privacy rules are not being respected as they should?

Absolutely.

Intelligence agencies are not in the business of respecting people's privacy.

Although i am a cryptographer and tend to use cryptography to solve privacy problems, it's not the only thing we have to do to solve them.

We also have to try to get the government to change its laws so that the government has to respect our privacy more.

Why?

Why should people fear the government looking at their e- mail traffic or whatever they're doing online if the government is just trying to go after potential terrorist issues, homeland security issues?

If you're someone who is just doing normal stuff, why would you have to worry?

If you build a surveillance infrastructure this powerful, and turn it on your own citizenry, it could undermine the institutions of democracy.

Jimmy carter recently said, we don't have a functioning democracy.

When a former president that, you have to take it seriously.

We all have something to hide.

We go online and browse things and view things and read things.

We want to be able to have private discussions with people, our doctors about medical things , intimate people we want to talk with.

You are worried that this information can be used against you by the government?

Yes.

The east german secret police would gather information during the cold war about people doing scandalous sexual things, such as cheating on their spouses, and use it to blackmail them to coerce them into cooperating.

We all have something to hide.

We all have personal lives.

We all have some reason to keep part of our lives private.

Even if the current or previous administration that built this infrastructure, if they only had the highest principles in mind when they built it, we have no clue who will be in the white house in 2017 or some future administration that could inherit this infrastructure.

Given all this news about the nsa, all the revelations by edward snowden, are you seeing an increase in the number of people coming to you, looking to make sure their information is properly encrypted?

Absolutely.

I have a company called silent circle that secures phone calls -- does secure phone calls and secure instant text messages.

Our business has gone up sharply since the edward snowden revelations.

Are you nsa-proof?

I'm not going to say that.

We do software that runs on computers that could be subverted.

You have to protect your mobile phone or ipad or android phone, your iphone.

All those things conceivably could be penetrated by some kind of attack that we are unable to defend against.

We have an application that runs on these mobile devices that lets you communicate with our servers.

We don't share the keys with the servers.

The government cannot twist our armed to force us to hand over the keys , but it is conceivable that the government could penetrate the mobile device you're using and subvert how it works.

Very interesting discussion . indeed a new age in privacy wars.

Thank you, phil zimmerman.

Coming up, tension mounts between the u.s. and syria.

How to play this uncertainty.

That is next.

Plus, will it be blackout, the sequel?

September 30, it could be espn.

?

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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