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    US, British Spy Agencies Able to Defeat Internet Encryption

    Documents leaked by former U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden indicate U.S. and British spy agencies have cracked encryption codes designed to provide online privacy and security.

    Hundreds of millions of people use the codes to protect their personal data, online transactions and email correspondence. But the files show the U.S. National Security Agency and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ - working together - have compromised Internet companies' guarantees that their customers' communications and personal records remain private.

    The documents show the security agencies have collaborated with Internet companies to leave vulnerabilities -- known as "backdoors" or "trapdoors" -- in commercial encryption software. According to the classified material, sometimes the collaboration is voluntary, sometimes it is forced with court orders, and sometimes it involves the use of supercomputers and other technical measures, including NSA influence on international encryption standards or government requests for companies' encryption keys.

    The records show the NSA spends some $250 million a year on a program that works with the U.S. and foreign IT industries to "covertly influence" their product designs. The files also reveal the British security agency has worked on ways to enter the encrypted traffic streams of major service providers, such as Yahoo, Google, Facebook and Microsoft's Hotmail.



    The latest information comes from documents the British newspaper The Guardian received from Snowden and shared with The New York Times and non-profit news organization ProPublica.

    The new revelations are already causing backlash among privacy advocates. The New York Times cites experts as saying the NSA campaign to weaken communications security may have "serious unintended consequences" and allow others to exploit the weaknesses as well.

    U.S. government officials have argued that NSA surveillance efforts are only aimed at stopping terrorism. Many technology companies say they cooperate with the intelligence agencies only when legally necessary. For example, as The Guardian reported previously, Microsoft worked with the NSA to get around encryption on Outlook email, as well as chat services. But Microsoft said it only did so to comply with "lawful demands."

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    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
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    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
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    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
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    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

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    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
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    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
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    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

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