Matthew Green, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins, is an expert in encryption. He spoke about PRISM, the top-secret National Security Agency surveillance operation that was first made public by The Washington Post and The Guardian.
According to the reports, the NSA and FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies—including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Skype, and YouTube—to obtain audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and other information that enable analysts to track foreign targets.
How do you think the recent disclosures about the NSA’s PRISM program might affect cryptography research (yours and the field in general)?
At the moment PRISM doesn’t have any impact. Right now the real concern comes from a set of related measures that we refer to as CALEA II. This refers to a set of proposals designed to address the “problem” of end-to-end encrypted communications, possibly by adding “backdoors” to voice and IM software with this capability.