The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has reportedly been working to crack or get around the encryption technology used worldwide to keep information safe on the Internet.
The revelation comes in freshly published reports in "The New York Times," Britain's "The Guardian" newspaper, and the nonprofit news website ProPublica.
The reports describe how the NSA has invested billions of dollars since 2000 to potentially make nearly everyone's secrets available for government consumption.
The reports tell how the NSA built powerful supercomputers to break encryption codes and partnered with unnamed technology companies to insert "back doors" into their software.
Such a practice would give the government access to users' digital information before it was encrypted and sent over the Internet.
The revelations stem from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. There has been no comment from the NSA.
Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and dpa