NSA 'feeding frenzy' threatens the USA, says RSA


by Duncan MacRae| 26 February 2014

RSA executive chairman believes the NSA's defensive role has been overlooked.

RSA executive chairman Art Coviello has condemned the "feeding frenzy" that has surrounded the NSA controversy, stating it is dangerous for the USA.

Coviello made the comments in his opening keynote speech at the RSA Conference in San Francisco today.

Late last year, press coverage had asserted that RSA entered into a secret contract with the NSA to incorporate a known flawed random number generator into its BSAFE encryption libraries - something the company denied.

Coviello admitted that the RSA has been working with the NSA but stated that this had been a well know fact for the past decade.

He said: "The NSA is not just a monolithic intelligence gathering organisation. It also has a defensive operation to defend important systems and critical digital infrastructure. This is what RSA has been working with the NSA on, as have most other security technology companies. They all work with this defensive unit of the NSA and we all benefit from that because, in return, we receive intelligence on threats.

"This feeding frenzy that has surrounded the NSA controversy is not just sad. It's dangerous for the USA."

Coviello added that if the NSA ever blurs the lines between this defensive role and the role of invading individuals' privacy to gather data, then that would be a problem. "If that were to ever happen, then we absolutely should not work with the NSA"

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