Our second keynote address at this year's HOPE Number Nine conference will be delivered by former National Security Agency analyst turned whistleblower William Binney.
The NSA is one of the most secretive agencies in the country, responsible for the collection and analysis of numerous forms of foreign communications. They are also tasked with protecting U.S. government communications and information systems, which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography. In recent years, however, the NSA's eye has increasingly been turned towards American citizens, as evidenced in the recent warrantless surveillance controversy.
William Binney served in the NSA for over 30 years, including a time as director of the NSAs World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group.
Based on his experience and background, he estimates that the NSA has put together over 20,000,000,000,000 (20 trillion) "transactions" phone calls, emails, and other forms of data from Americans. Surprising as it may sound, it's entirely possible that this could include copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people who live in the United States.
By coming forward to expose these abuses and provide evidence to the public and the media, Binney displays those qualities that so many in the hacker community strive for: courage, standing up to authority, revealing the truth, and honoring the rights of the individual. Regardless of where any of us wind up in the future, these values will always serve us well and will help to foster a truly democratic society.
Our privacy has pretty much evaporated over the years we all know this. But that's no reason to stop caring. Whenever possible, we must reveal every bit of information we can discover about the people who spy on us every day. We are honored to have William Binney address the audience at HOPE this year to help wake us up and to inspire us with the changes that an individual can achieve simply by speaking up.
HOPE Number Nine will take place July 13-15, 2012 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. You can still preregister at the discounted rate here. Information on hotel rates can be found here. Look for daily updates on the scores of other talks that are being presented at HOPE here.
The other keynote address this year will be delivered by The Yes Men.