NSA can listen in on encrypted phone calls

Posted on: 1:03 pm, December 14, 2013, by and

cell phone

The latest documents from the National Security Agency leaked by Edward Snowden show that government spies are capable of listening in on mobile phone calls that use a common form of encryption, according to a Washington Post report.

But if you’re vulnerable, blame your carrier — this code has been cracked for years.

The Post on Friday published confidential government documents provided by Snowden that show that the NSA can “process” cellular phone calls on GSM networks, even if they are encrypted. GSM, which stands for Global System for Mobile communications, is the world’s most widely used cellphone technology — though several large networks, notably Verizon and Sprint, rely on an older network technology called CDMA.

Lastly, the NSA has repeatedly stated that it only snoops on conversations involving foreign citizens, as it has no legal basis by which to conduct such surveillance on Americans.

But if they can crack A5/1, others can as well — for everyone from hackers to foreign intelligence services, the cat’s been out of the bag for a long time.