“Google has “long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping, which is why we have continued to extend encryption across more and more Google services and links,” said David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer. ‘We do not provide any government, including the U.S. government, with access to our systems. We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform.'”
Well, during the cold war certainly there was much less opportunity for cases as this to emerge.
“Microsoft co-operated with the NSA to circumvent encryption on the Outlook.com email and chat services … the agency has already achieved another of the goals laid out in the budget request: to influence the international standards upon which encryption systems rely … ‘selective in which contractors are given exposure to this information’, but it was ultimately seen by Snowden, one of 850,000 people in the US with top-secret clearance … ‘Backdoors are fundamentally in conflict with good security,’ said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist and senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘Backdoors expose all users of a backdoored system, not just intelligence agency targets, to heightened risk of data compromise.’ This is because the insertion of backdoors in a software product, particularly those that can be used to obtain unencrypted user communications or data, significantly increases the difficulty of designing a secure product”
Interesting, certainly everything is a trade-off, it goes two ways, the capability to attack is also a vulnerability exposing all the systems and the people behind such capability. Certainly, human intelligence can go a long way in causing snowden cases all day long, every day of the week.
Certainly, also the fact that systems are more or less standardized, gives a very wide opportunity to disruptive actions, which at the times of the cold war would have been impossible for one individual (with less brain retarded operating systems and network protocols, it was quite rare to find somebody who could work proficiently even on just three families of systems, back then.)