With the continued expansion of internet prevalence in our everyday lives, it’s becoming harder each day to escape the ever-watching eyes of “Big Brother”. “Big Brother” is an idiomatic term that refers to government surveillance powers that oversee our actions on an everyday basis, the most relevant example in this instance being the NSA.
The NSA has recently experienced a significant amount of backlash from major tech companies because of its invasive and disturbing policies for mass data collection. A year after agency contractor Edward Snowden’s leak of private documents, executives from nine major tech companies (AOL, Dropbox, Google, Apple, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook) sent a letter to the Senate demanding a reform of internet privacy and security laws.
Specifically, Microsoft sounded off about the changes in legislation that they would like to see, in reference to cyber-spying and data hacking. One of their main gripes was towards the security of cloud-based services, and the lack of certainty behind the protection of their documents and information. Microsoft claims that the government has “intercepted data traveling across the internet”, and “hacked links between company data centres” (www.thegaurdian.com).
Microsoft has a strong call to action, with five specific desires:
- Recognize that U.S. search warrants do not have jurisdiction outside of the U.S.
- End bulk-collection of data (phone records, email records)
- Commit to the ending of large scale data centre hacking
- Reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, which makes its rulings in private.
- Improve transparency in terms of exactly what rights the government has to information and records.
It’s no secret that the government watches over us and keeps an eye out for suspicious activity. Many people understand and accept that it is for the greater good, but a great many (me included) believe that it is a serious breach of our Constitutional rights. With the constant increase in web/cloud based technology that businesses use for records, it’s a scary thought knowing that your business’s private information is always at the fingertips of the government; with little to no control over what the government can do or take from us, how much power do the people really have? Is the internet just another way for the government to control us? How do you think the government’s aggressive interference with private information will affect businesses in the future? Reply and let us know!