Linux creator admits NSA demanded backdoor

Linus Torvalds prompts nervous laughter at panel, admitting the government wanted access to operating system

Topics: NSA, Linux, Government, linus torvalds, open source, Surveillance, backdoor, ,

Linux creator admits NSA demanded backdoor Linus Tovalds (Credit: Wikimedia)

Speaking at the keynote LinuxCon panel this year, Linus Torvalds, who created the open-source Linux operating system 22 years ago, revealed that the government had approached him about installing a backdoor into system’s structure. Linux is the preferred operating system for the privacy conscious infosec community.

It’s just the latest in a string of revelations illustrating how the NSA have for a number of years attempted to intervene in the very structuring of online communications and cryptography to enable easier surveillance.

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EWeek.com reported on Torvalds’ panel admission (although the suggestion is that the Linux creator resisted government pressure):

Torvalds was also asked if he had ever been approached by the U.S. government to insert a backdoor into Linux. Torvalds responded “no” while [nodding] his head “yes,” as the audience broke into spontaneous laughter.

Natasha Lennard
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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