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Computer Equipment Manufacturer Has a Very Clever Way of Keeping the NSA From Spying on Its Customers

"So its very hard to target – you'd have to target all of them."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Cisco, one of the world's largest computer networking equipment manufacturers is no fan of the NSA's spying techniques.

The company has reportedly been helping customers circumvent a government surveillance technique by shipping some of its products to vacant homes. Doing so would theoretically stop the government from being able to tap into Cisco devices, PC World reported.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

"We ship [boxes] to an address that's has nothing to do with the customer, and then you have no idea who ultimately it is going to," Cisco CEO John Stewart said Wednesday, N4GM.com reported.

In 2013, it was reported that one of the NSA's spying methods included the interception of packages in transit to the  person who ordered it online or over the phone. The agency then installed so-called "backdoor" surveillance systems inside of those devices to detect the activity performed on the products once the customer had received them.

"It causes other issues to make [interception] more difficult in that [agencies] don't quite know where that router is going so its very hard to target – you'd have to target all of them," Steward said of his company's actions. 

Despite the clever attempt, however, Stewart admitted it's not likely to stop the NSA from still targeting consumers.

“If a truly dedicated team is coming after you, and they’re coming after you for a very long period of time, then the probability of them succeeding at least once does go up,” he said. “And its because they’ve got patience, they’ve got capacity and more often than not, they’ve got capability.”

This isn't the first time Cisco has made its views on government surveillance known. In May 2014, Mark Chandler, a member of the company's general counsel, wrote in a company blog post that the U.S. government had "overreached," thus "undermining the goals of free communication."

"Confidence in the open, global Internet has brought enormous economic benefits to the United States and to billions around the world, "Chandler continued.

"This confidence has been eroded by revelations of government surveillance, by efforts of the U.S. government to force U.S. companies to provide access to communications of non-U.S. citizens even when that violates the privacy laws of countries where U.S. companies do business."

Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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