In the wake of the revelations by Edward Snowden, the head of the NSA Keith Alexander has announced that he plans to reduce by 90% the number of system administrators (the job that Snowden had) that NSA employs, in an effort to limit the number of people with access to that kind of data.
Using technology to automate much of the work now done by employees and contractors would make the NSA’s networks “more defensible and more secure,” as well as faster, he said at the conference, in which he did not mention Snowden by name.
Other security measures that Alexander has previously discussed include requiring at least two people to be present before certain data can be accessed on the agency’s computer systems.
“At the end of the day it’s about people and trust,” Alexander said. He again defended his agency’s conduct, much of which he said had been “grossly mischaracterized” by the press.
“No one has willfully or knowingly disobeyed the law or tried to invade your civil liberties or privacies,” he said. “There were no mistakes like that at all.”
It really kills me when the people who have no compunction about secretly spying on everyone and lying about it left and right talk about the importance of trust
While this move will likely reduce the risk of leaks, it will not eliminate it. And it will likely make the spying operate less smoothly. There is a reason why we need human system administrators, because unexpected things come up all the time that require human judgment.