Trying to prevent the kind of leaks carried out by former contractor Edward Snowden, National Security Agency (NSA) officials will now tag sensitive documents and data with digital identifiers that limit access to select intelligence analyst, according to a published report. The measure is one of several security reforms being implemented three months after the publication of reams of highly classified reports documenting the agency’s expansive surveillance programs.
In addition to allowing sensitive materials to be accessed only by people who have a documented need to review them, the tags will allow NSA leaders to better track what individuals do with the data, National Public Radio reported Wednesday. “Could someone today do what [Snowden] did? No,” NSA CTO Lonny Anderson told the news service.
Another reform the NSA has implemented is designed to remove anonymity from the network. “If you’ve got privileged access to our network, like a systems administrator [has], if you’re being given a privilege that very few people have, you’re not going to do anything alone,” Anderson said. Additionally, NSA security officers are now limiting the options employees have for storing data on their own thumbdrives and other storage devices. As of June, when Snowden reportedly handed over documents to reporters, some NSA computers were equipped with USB ports that connected with thumbdrives. That has since changed.
Probably the best change so far in the Snowden ordeal. Of course, we do not know how many before Snowden did the same thing as he did and just did not tell anyone as they retired to a warm beach somewhere with the money from selling the information.
Human, nature being human nature, the employees at the NSA will also begin chipping away at these security measures in order to make their job easier
And, of course, all these new security changes will make interagency communication harder, which was one of the problems that led to 9-11. So there is that.