The words ‘Protecting Online User privacy’ seems like a myth or just a marketing stunt after one of the biggest leak in the America’s history about US National Security Agency’s (NSA) top-secret spying program –PRISM, which has been active since 2007.
The system allows US government to obtain emails, chats, file transfers, VoIP, social networking details, and more data from top tech giants of US viz Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Skype, Youtube, Apple.
Remember that 81% of the US top tech companies are consumed outside US; the NSA program takes full blown home-advantage to obtain details of user communications and stored information of internet users outside US in an easy to do fashion. According to the report first published on Guardian UK, the program has partnered with the tech companies to share details and let Govt. access their servers.
Some reports even claims the support system provided by the tech giants to help government access the data easily.
The PRISM data helps NSA to issues monthly reports, with 2000 reports per month currently and in total, more than 77,000 intelligence reports have cited the PRISM program so far.
Microsoft was among the early ones to come on board in Dec 2007 with Yahoo in 2008, Google Facebook in 2009, Youtube in 2010, Skype in 2011, and Apple in 2012 and soon was the plans to get Dropbox, according to the leaked document.
The release of the report with shared details of a 41page presentation regarding the program has since than spread like fire and has started a massive debate on the overall issue worldwide.
Tech companies denies, Barack Obama accepts
As the leaks came out on Wednesday tech giants are confidently denying any relation of theirs, with any such program. They have not even heard about it before.
Strangely, Barack Obama has accepted the existence of such program and has diplomatically claims the purpose behind is to fight terrorist attacks.
How does it come out?
US has been quite strict against whistle-blowers lately as the person behind famous Iran war Wiki leaks incident was about to face the start of his trial.
As the leaks regarding PRISM came out, there has been lot of diplomatic stances from the US govt to media and Washington might have already started its investigation against who did the leaks.
Soon after Edward Snowden, a contract worker at NSA came out as PRISM leak source in one of the bravest disclosure ever made on media that was reported by Guardian. The publication revealed his identity on his request, where Edward claimed the reason behind the leaks is to stand for the privacy of Internet Users and let the world know what US is doing.
He viewed the internet as “the most important invention in all of human history”. But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by US surveillance.
Working with NSA he arrived at the conclusion about PRISM to soon become irrevocable which made him to go out to the media and let people know about it. “What they are doing is not democratic”, he claims giving transparency as his ultimate goal for the leaks.
“I am not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made.” – he said. “You can’t wait around for someone else to act”.
Impacts & Concerns
US representatives were soon to face Chinese leaders over their alleged use of cyber-espionage, and with the recent PRISM leaks it will weaken the moral of the US govt says experts.
Now imagine with what America is doing with its tech companies; the limit China can cross with its tech products such as Wechat (Tencent), UCWeb, Alibaba and more trying to penetrate the lives of worldwide users, though there are no claims but few curious questions for the users.
It can even raise concern over the tech ecosystem in Silicon Valley.
Indian Government is also not far behind with their attempts to monitor the social media activity in the country and also planning to setup their own Central Monitoring System to get access to everything under country’s telecommunication network, leaving no room for privacy on Internet.
Now as a user it is up to you to decide how it can impact us and how far it will be able to maintain a line from being misused for personal benefits by bureaucrats; and IS terrorism all communication? Or is the world actually moving towards transparency where privacy has no meaning?
Image Credit: guardian.co.uk, policymic.com