The NSA is sharing projects on GitHub

Some of the projects are outdated, but could prove useful to some open source developers

NSA data

The National Security Agency (NSA) has opened an account on open source code repository GitHub, meaning developers are able to contribute to and use many of the organisation's innovations in their projects.

Although the NSA is the most secretive of US intelligence agencies, it currently has 32 projects listed on its NSA Technololgy Transfer Program GitHub account (first spotted by The Next Web), of which most are flagged as "coming soon".

A lot of the projects that are available were developed quite some time ago and are not likely to be recent things the NSA is working on, but closed items that are no longer being used. However, that doesn't mean they won't be useful to other organisations looking to boost their code.

The Next Web flags SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) as one such project that has been part of the Linux kernal for years and although it may not be helpful for most companies, a tool such as qgis-latlontools-plugin, which is described as "QGIS tools to capture and zoom to coordinates (including MGRS), using decimal, DMS, and WKT notation. Provides external map support and MGRS conversion routines," could be useful for mapping applications, using the plugin to extract coordinates from a map, for example.

It's unlikely many of the NSA's high profile projects will appear on its GitHub account anytime soon, but this is certainly a step forward in the NSA's attempts to be more transparent and open about what it's doing.

The first indicator of this was in 2013 when it opened a Twitter account, just after Edward Snowden issued security leaks regarding the NSA's questionable tactics.

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