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Bruce Schneier: Leaving BT, But Not Over NSA Comments

"This is not the Internet the world needs, or the Internet its creators envisioned. We need to take it back." - Bruce Schneier

Well-known security expert and author Bruce Schneier may have just released a book called “Carry On”, but the guru is also leaving his post at telecommunications firm BT and will be “moving on.”

Schneier confirmed to SecurityWeek Monday that he would be moving on and leaving his employer of more than seven years, but his exact plans for what's next are unknown so far.

Reports of Schneier’s departure surfaced earlier this week, joined by a source telling The Register he was “shown the door as a result of his comments about the NSA and GCHQ's global dragnet and mass surveillance activities.”

Carry On - Bruce SchneierSchneier has denied that he is leaving for any reason related to his comments about global government surveillance programs, and that his employer acknowledges him as an “independent thinker”.

“Contrary to rumor, it has nothing to do with the NSA,” Schneier told SecurityWeek.

“No, they weren't happy with me, but they knew that I am an independent thinker and they didn't try to muzzle me in any way,” he added.

“It's just time. I spent seven years at BT, and seven years at Counterpane Internet Security, Inc. before BT bought us. It's past time for something new.”

BT also denied the rumors behind Schneier's departure stemming from his public comments, telling The Register that, "We have agreed to part ways as we felt our relationship had run its course and come to a natural end. It has nothing to do with his recent blogs. We hired Bruce because of his thought leadership in security, not because we agree with everything he says."

Schneier, who has assisted publications including The Guardian, New York Times, and ProPublica to analyze leaked files by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has criticized many of the extreme measures government spy agencies have taken to snoop on Internet and phone communications.

“The NSA is breaking most encryption on the Internet,” Schneier wrote on his blog back in September. “The new Snowden revelations are explosive. Basically, the NSA is able to decrypt most of the Internet. They're doing it primarily by cheating, not by mathematics.”

As more details surfaced on the extent of US spying activities, Schneier continued to criticize the actions of the NSA and resulting fallout for businesses and individuals.

“Even though we don't know which companies the NSA has compromised -- or by what means -- knowing that they could have compromised any of them is enough to make us mistrustful of all of them,” he wrote in a Dec. blog post. “This is going to make it hard for large companies like Google and Microsoft to get back the trust they lost.” 

When asked by SecurityWeek about his next move, Schneier didn’t say what was in store just yet. “Answer cloudy; ask again later,” he said.

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.