Friday, June 7, 2013

NSA is Watching You

I suspected that the reports that indicated that the NSA had/have access to every call you make, to whom, when, where, and for how long, would be just the tip of the iceberg... and indeed, we now find out that the NSA is tracking each and every move you make throughout the internet. And the implications are still to broad for us to imagine how much this revelation will impact internet service.

Basically PRISM is a system that gives the NSA access to every email, photo, video, message, that goes through services like Google, Yahoo, Skype, Facebook and others.

Even though those companies refute those allegations and the White House says this is an essential tool for national security - that shouldn't even be discussed publicly as it will help its enemies evade such system - and that is intended to spy foreign users alone even though... everyone ends up in the mix.

Basically, it's they say: "trust us we'll only do the right thing with everything we get from every single one of you."

I can't say I'm surprised. Decades ago there were rumors that the NSA had systems listening in to every phone conversation, doing voice recognition in a time the general public didn't even know that was possible, and flagging calls with certain keyword combinations such as "bomb, white house, assassination, president", and so on.

If they could do that back then... imagine what they0ll be able to do now. I can even imagine something like the amazing Facebook graph search, where you can easily query things like: "friends of friends, with ages between 20 and 40, living in New York and like cats"; but applied to the much broader data they're gathering. "Find terrorists, having bought bombs in the past 24h, and instagraming their likely targets".

Jokes aside, the key point is that now that such system is out in the open, there's no going back. How do you feel your government spying on you, with the excuse that they need to do it to catch some hypothetical terrorists (that by now will surely know how to use encrypted and other hidden communication methods, such as embedding messages in photos or the like)?

Is it really acceptable to allow a government to trample your most basic privacy rights with the excuse they're fighting for the freedom that should allow you to have those rights in the first place?

Guess each one will have to figure that by themselves.

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