Truth Frequency Radio
Sep 27, 2014


The National Security Agency (NSA), which develops surveillance tools that are both dazzling and terrifying, has been making money on the side by licensing its technology to private businesses for more than two decades.
So if you’re looking to buy a tool to transcribe voice recordings in any language, a foolproof method to tell if someone’s touched your phone’s SIM card, or a version of email encryption that isn’t available on the open market, try the world’s most technologically advanced spy agency.
It’s called the Technology Transfer Program (TTP), under which the NSA declassifies some of its technologies that it developed for previous operations, patents them, and, if they’re swayed by an American company’s business plan and nondisclosure agreements, rents them out.
The TTP itself isn’t classified, though 2014 is the first year they’ve published a formal catalog. (Yes, there’s a catalog.) Nor is it unique to the NSA. The Department of Defense (DoD), which includes the NSA under its umbrella, has a number of branches with similar programs.
The DoD funds a program at Montana State University, called TechLink, that acts as a broker between the military and private businesses that might be a good fit to license its technologies. According to Chanda Morris, TechLink’s Communications Director, between 100 and 150 research labs under the DoD’s umbrella participate, depending on how finely you categorize them.
“Under the heading of Air Force Research Laboratory, there’s an Information Directorate, which is in Rome, New York,” Morris told the Daily Dot. But you could break that down further. “There’s an Aerospace Systems, which covers propulsion and craft fuel, and there’s the Directed Energy Directorate in New Mexico,” she said.
The NSA joined other DoD labs at the third annual “Defense Labs Tech Transfer” trade show in Maryland last week. It brought several technologies to show, including an organic integrated circuit that’s small and extremely flexible—developed, one NSA representative told us, to sew into Air Force pilots’ uniforms to give them a means of creating a long-distance GPS signal if they go down far from any phone towers.
NSA officials declined to say how much money the Technology Transfer program brings in. They did, however, state that individuals at the agency receive substantial bonuses if their programs are licensed.
“Per NSA Policy, inventors at NSA receive 25 percent of the royalties or other payments,” NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines told the Daily Dot. She adds that the remainder, per U.S. law, goes toward “activities that increase the potential for transfer of the technology” within the agency.
In other words, the rest of the money stays in-house.
While the NSA declined to say how much money the program made, there are figures to give an idea of its scale. According to the Washington Post‘s massive “black budget” report, the agency received $10.8 billion in funding in 2013, of which $429.1 million went towards research and technology development.