Has government spying gone too far this time? Now that we have proof that backs up what many privacy advocates have been saying for years, should we be alarmed? From the moment The Guardian broke the NSA scandal last Friday (PRISM)— I’ve been literally rolling my eyeballs because I am a Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Skype, Verizon, and Yahoo user. Though I never use these services to house sensitive or personal data, I still use them as a bio for my online identity. The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to.” —Edward Snowden
Is government really spying on you?
I have always been on the side of caution when using any digital device. I tend to tailor the data that I hold on my phone and I also carefully groom what I search for on the web. For any searches that I do not want associated with my online profile — I use services such as Cocoon and DuckDuckGo. A few days ago a friend texted me from the pub — PORK BOMB! Alright, Mr. two-three pints later guy, what exactly are you trying to convey? He was obviously trying to receive a text-back reaction from me; he thinks I have gone too far with the Verizon-NSA-PRISM brouhaha. I do not believe that I have gone too far in exercising caution with what I text, post, email, speak, or search for online. Pork and bomb are only two of the 374 keywords that the US government monitors online. I guess I could have texted back: Response Explosion and we could have worked our way down the Analyst’s Desktop Binder and ended with PLOT Infrastructure. Unfortunately, I can’t get my friend to text me on Wickr (iPhone encryption app), because he simply does not believe that the government is a threat to anyone’s privacy. He’s still hanging out at the “I’ve got nothing to hide” playground. On a more serious note — when a 29 year old guy leaves his family, girlfriend, country, and a six figure income due to conscience over what our government is doing in secrecy; this is highly indicative of government spying that has gone too far. What tools do you use to protect your online privacy?
Originally posted at the Cocoon Blog on June 12, 2013