The reports of Snowden leaks of 2013 revealed the extent of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program. Since then internet users have become smart, it has emerged that one user has challenged the NSA to decrypt his uncrackable mixtape.
In late May, music artist and software engineer, David Huerta sent a mystery package to the NSA headquarters. The box contained an encrypted mixtape that can’t be cracked due to the private key-based cryptography. Through the use of an Arduino board and a transparent acrylic case, Huerta says he was able to craft an “uncrackable” mixtape.
Initially, Huerta wanted to create a traditional mixtape and share it with his friends and colleagues. But he was not successful in doing so because he didn’t have a cassette recorder. That’s why he decided to build the encrypted mixtape at NYC resistor.
The New York based engineer says the poor audio quality was meant to replicate a typical wiretapped phone conversation.
“[It’s] a response to the hidden exploitation of proprietary smartphones by computery mercenaries like Finfisher and HackingTeam,” he added. “This open-hardware device would not be a black box, figuratively or literally.”
“It’s designed to be enjoyed only by people I have consented it to be listened to,” wrote Huerta in a blog published on Medium. “A second copy of this device will also be sent to the NSA’s headquarters in Maryland, but without the private key needed to decrypt it; a reminder that the rules of mathematics are more powerful than the rules of even the most powerful states.”
Huerto also puts a lot of thought into the transparent design of the tape. He says that it is symbolic gesture of transparency.
While NASA has the power to get into a number of systems, Heurto ensures the organization lacks the technology or private key, to crack the mixtape. “The NSA can read my stupid Facebook updates but without my consent it will never be able to listen to my kick-ass mixtape,” he writes.