Nifi - An open source data traffic software released by NSA in collaboration with Apache software foundation

American National Security Agency (NSA) announced in a press release today that they are, in partnership with Apache software foundation, releasing an open source version of its new tool that automates data flows among multiple computer networks. This tool works efficiently even in situations where data formats and protocols are different among networks. The tool named "Nifi" short for Niagarafiles.

The reason behind this move is that the large companies with many geographical locations could use it to control, manage, and analyze the flow of information from geographically dispersed sites while creating comprehensive awareness of the situations. Another important factor for its release is to benefit from the contributions and enhancements from the open source community to improve this software. Also at the same time, the government can gain from related research advances. Research in managing and transferring big data can also benefit from this project.

The director of the NSA Technology Transfer Program (TTP), Linda L. Burger said in a statement, "NSA's innovators work on some of the most challenging national security problems imaginable. We use open-source releases to move technology from the lab to the marketplace, making state-of-the-art technology more widely available and aiming to accelerate U.S. economic growth".

This is the first time that an American spy agency made its source code available to the public. However, previously it has contributed to the open source community in the form of Accumulo project, a NoSQL database that is released through the Apache Software Foundation. Similarly some contributions in the Linux community such as SUSE Linux, Debian Linux and SELinux (a security plugin used in most Linux distribution) were made by NSA. So in other words, we can say that this is not the first time that NSA is contributing to the open source community.