In September 2013, The Guardian, New York Times, and ProPublica jointly revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had exerted its influence to weaken the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) cryptographic standards. This month, the NIST removed a number generating algorithm from its publications following suspicions of that the NSA created a backdoor into the algorithm.
NIST published a draft document in February 2014 outlining the development process for cryptographic standards and guidelines. In response to this draft, 11 groups, including OpenTheGovernment, joined Access to urge NIST to implement “a more transparent, accountable process for standards development.” Greater transparency would, among other benefits, shine a light on the NSA’s influence in the development of standards. The letter is available here.