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Published On: Tue, Jul 30th, 2013

Federal government demanding passwords and encryption algorithms from Internet companies

The federal government has demanded that major internet companies turn over users’ stored passwords, two sources told the tech website CNet.

photo Charles Fettinger via Flickr

photo Charles Fettinger via Flickr

“If the government is able to determine a person’s password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user,” the report says. “Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.”

The government is not only requesting the passwords, but its also asking for algorithms and even security questions:

Some of the government orders demand not only a user’s password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.

According to the report’s sources, the government has requested password information on numerous occasions. Still, both sources said the companies fight them.

“We push back,” one said.

“There’s a lot of ‘over my dead body,’” said another.

Most of the big internet companies — Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo — declined to comment or give any specific information regarding the allegations, but Yahoo did say, “”If we receive a request from law enforcement for a user’s password, we deny such requests on the grounds that they would allow overly broad access to our users’ private information. If we are required to provide information, we do so only in the strictest interpretation of what is required by law.”

Check out the full report via The Blaze

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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