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I think you're right. It's sad to see many people are looking at these tools and performing a sort of "Allegory of the Cave" by extrapolating, then, the evils that can be done with these tools.

Something, mostly common sense, tells me that we will not find some smoking gun to a crime here in these OSS repos...if anyone wanted that, they can refer to any number of leaks.

Ultimately, I'm happy to see this stuff shared, happy to see others use it and happy to see the OSS community build on it.




There's multiple reasons why you wouldn't want to use these newly released open-source projects. First one is, like you said, the danger of a backdoor. The second one is that due to the very long list of non-ethical and illegal practices of the organisation you don't want to contribute or depend on them.


Bleach has been used in bombs around the world, should I not use it because there's a chance it's been used for (perceived) evil?


Cluster bombs have such blatant propaganda spread against them by well-meaning but naive individuals. Don't be fooled - look at all their positive uses!


That's not a like for like comparison, one is a bomb designed for destruction, one is software designed to solve a problem. The software isn't designed to kill, maim, or destroy, if it can be used as part of the process that doesn't make the software itself evil. Should we throw out linux systems since linux powers many control systems in war machines?


One thing to remember is that the NSA isn't a monolith: there are factions and differing opinions inside of the agency.

It's likely someone spent a fair amount of political capital to draw attention to the agency by emphasizing their public projects and trying to engage with the wider public. If there's a negative response to that, it only lends weight to the voices inside the agency who are against that sort of thing.

I, for one, prefer the NSA to be working on defensive technologies in collaboration with the tech community to any number of things they could be spending the resources on -- and think we badly need their expertise and help to secure domestic assets.

So I'm going to say "good job!" when they're doing things I like and save my criticism of their other behaviors for more appropriate moments.

I think collaboration is fundamentally more powerful an instrument of change than shunning is.




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