PRISM summarized: Why you should be bothered
For the past months or so, you have probably scanned through a couple of words such as NSA, PRISM, surveillance and the likes. Not a lot of tech savvy people would be interested in politics, especially if all the major plot elements are found in the far west. However, as overly political and seemingly irrelevant as it looks, it’s still worth talking about.
What is PRISM? To keep it simple, it is a top secret program done by U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) which aims to collect data from, mostly, everyone. At first, it was best to say that only internet giants were included in the program, but it turns out there were more. Here are the few major companies involved:
Of course, even with the leaked data, the companies denied their involvement with PRISM (whether you would believe that or not is up to you). Other companies such as Verizon has been reported to be providing the US government with data soon after the leak. Based on the leaked slides, the government has access to data from any of these companies. Examples of data that they can collect are listed below:
- Chats (video & voice)
- File Transfers
- Special Requests
Remember, we weren’t supposed to know about this; we aren’t supposed to be aware that a group of people can actually access our data just with a snap of a finger. So, who leaked all of this?
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
Apart from the U.S. government having this amount of power and surveillance over its people, there are also reports that UK can access the same data through PRISM as well. After some time, further details show up that the German government also used the surveillance program too.
“Because there’s a reason why these programs are classified…”
U.S. President Obama states that there are reasons for hiding these kinds of things from the public, and that this leak isn’t something they’re happy about at all. But even with all the fuss about it, a secret court just renewed the order so that the government can continue spying on people; they say it’s in public interest.
Their reason for watching over your data? Terrorism; they say that a lot of terrorist plots have been already foiled by the government (again, whether you’re buying that or not is up to you).
So what’s the problem with all of this? The U.S. government wants whistleblower Edward Snowden captured for going against their stands, there isn’t that much transparency going on, despite the rage of some people about this, they will continue to spy on us people and the list goes on.
Even if I’m no American citizen or such, I’m still bothered by the fact that most of us use American and European services, and that they have power over our personal data. However, what bothers me above everything else is the fact that very few people are bothered by it. Have we stopped caring? Is everyone becoming politically ignorant?
Technology is here to stay, no doubt. It will keep developing as time goes on, but when the time comes where we totally have no privacy – the question is ‘what are we going to do about it?‘.