Why a hacker artist just sent the NSA the most secure mixtape ever

Contributed by
Jul 15, 2014

It’s a bit unsettling to admit it, but the government is watching and listening to quite a few things we say and do these days. But one hacker decided to fire back with a “kick-ass mixtape” the NSA will never get to enjoy.

In an effort to make a high-tech, musical tribute to the journalists who worked to publish Edward Snowden’s revealing leaked documents, artist and software engineer David Huerta took an Arduino electronics board and covered it with transparent acrylic. Inside? A mixtape of tunes heavily encrypted on an SD card.

Just to stick it to the NSA, Huerta boxed up his ultra-secure digital mixtape and mailed it to the NSA's headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. He obviously didn’t include the password. As The Verge notes, the NSA can sometimes get around encryption, but typically only by targeting weak links elsewhere. Strong, old-fashioned encryption is still a very reliable way to secure data. Even from Big Brother.

Here’s an excerpt from Huerta’s blog post about the project:

“Although it was revealed the NSA has several programs to exploit and intercept systems of every kind, the actual cryptography connecting those systems was still something it fundamentally can’t break. Encryption is the blind spot to the NSA’s all-seeing eye. Math doesn’t need an information dominance center to enforce its rules. Math is the legal framework which the universe can only obey and will trump and outlast the rules of any human state …

The NSA can read my stupid Facebook updates but without my consent it will never be able to listen to my kick-ass mix tape, even if it’s sitting right in front of them.”

So what the heck is on the mixtape? Only Huerta knows, and the only track list from the card is kept offline. It’s an enigma wrapped in an SD card wrapped in an electronics board. Our best guess? "U Can't Touch This."

(Via The Verge)

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