The NSA can't hand over the evidence they've been collecting on Americans because it's "too complex," but similar information leaked by Edward Snowden was simple enough to change how a terrorist group operates. Big data firm Recorded Future claims that Snowden's leak changed how the al-Qaida terrorists operate online.
Recorded Future believes that al-Qaida updated its encryption protocols immediately after the Snowden leaks. Al-Qaida used the same encryption program for seven years before Snowden released the NSA documents.
Shortly after, al-Qaida began using new, open-source encryption codes to disguise its communications. Recorded Future's CEO and co-founder Christopher Ahlberg explains his company's observations in its report.
"We saw at least three product releases coming out with different organizations with al-Qaida and associated organizations fairly quickly after the Snowden disclosures," said Recorded Future's CEO and co-founder Christopher Ahlberg. "But we wanted to go deeper and see how big those changes were."
"Product releases," in this case, refers to new ways to hide information from the public. The Snowden controversy apparently reminded many terrorists that they, too, are vulnerable to leakers exposing their secrets. This could be because the information released by Snowden tipped them off to the fact that the NSA had cracked their codes.
"This is as close to proof that you can get that these have changed and improved their communications structure post the Snowden leaks," Ahlberg said.
Whether or not Snowden expected to tip off al-Qaida about their shoddy communications, he'll have to deal with the repercussions of the revelation. What do you think? Was finding out about the NSA's surveillance obsession worth the price?