Is internet privacy going to change in light of recent NSA leaks?
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Summary / Findings

Danielle May's insight:

In researching Edward Snowden and all of the chatter surrounding the NSA leaks, I found a variety of different opinions and insight into what will and won’t change as a result. I spent some time reading personal blogs to get a feel for what the general public thought and their opinions were very emotionally charged. Seeing as how this assignment required reputable and scholarly sources, I opted to not use the blogs in my articles below. Although very emotionally driven, the thoughts of the public don’t seem to differ too terribly much from what I found in news articles and journals.

 

If you do not learn from history, you’re destined to repeat it. This is something that I have been hearing from my teachers for as long as I can remember and I found it to be extremely pertinent to this question as well. Internet and phone surveillance is not a new issue. American citizens have been being monitored since the 1700’s when mail that passed through the postal system was routinely opened. In 1838 when the telegraph was invented, bugging of these messages began almost instantaneously. Law enforcement agencies began tapping wires on early phone lines in the 1890’s. The 1950’s brought on the first secret endeavor to servile the population without their knowledge, which until Edward Snowden was occurring once again. Every time the general public gets a grasp on what is actually occurring behind the closed doors of the government, there’s a large cry for outrage and change that typically doesn’t last very long. Once the dust settles, as history would have it, a new piece of legislation is brought forward to enact the same or similar actions that were originally being questioned.

 

The articles I found bring many different insights to the table in terms of whether or not internet privacy will change. The article that caught me the furthest off guard (and there were many different versions of this story out there from different sources) was the story about, what I would consider to be the most shocking and apparently unforeseen consequence of Snowden’s actions. The Washington Post painted a grim picture of how the leak of how the US government acquires data about terrorist organizations actually may have aided Al-Qaida and other militants. From all of the articles I’ve read and videos that I’ve seen, I would have to make the hypothesis that this was by-far not the desired outcome of Snowden’s actions – but a negative impact none-the-less.

 

Another item I found, a video from Russia Today (RT) Network, gave an approach to how internet privacy will change that I originally had never considered as an outcome of the leaks. The reporter in this article go on to explain the number of different ways YOU as a user can keep yourself private as well as safe. Startpage.com offers Google results without the tracking cookies and IP tracing that typically come with a Google.com search. There are also many of data, voice, text encryption software packages available for download; however, these do come with a pretty price tag and typically require a monthly or yearly membership to maintain the software features. The question is now, are you willing to pay more for your privacy?

 

Another item that I just found out about while researching this topic was the “Reclaim Your Name” program. This program has actually been around for quite some time, but FTC commissioner Julie Bell has gone full steam ahead with this initiative ever since the PRISM information went public. “Reclaim Your Name” will allow the user to not only see how their information is being used by and sold to/from companies but they can also take control of their own data and opt out of marketing based selling of their information. If Ms. Bell can get this initiative off the ground and enacted into use, I would consider this to be a very positive change to internet privacy. The public demand for this kind of initiative is very high at this moment as a result of the NSA leaks.

 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who feel that this is just how we live now-a-days. A surveillance state is all that they know and they are comfortable with it. There’s a group of people out there with the general consensus of “I’ve got nothing to worry about, I’ve done nothing wrong” basically allowing programs like PRISM to monitor them without question. We are of the generation who knowingly and willingly puts their entire life on the silver platter that is the internet for all to see. To these individuals, privacy is dead and as a result, they believe that there will be no changes in internet policy and privacy sparked from the NSA leaks.

 

Unfortunately for me, the topic I chose to research was so very new that the majority of findings on the web are opinion-based, emotionally driven blogs. I had a difficult time finding fact-driven articles and journals to paint a picture of what will be in the future of internet privacy. Edward Snowden did what he believed to be his due diligence in giving the American public the truth about their privacy. I am the same age as Edward and I can’t imagine what he must be going through knowing that he will never see his family again or come home. This must have been something that he felt so strongly about that he was willing to give it all up for. He stated in his interview with Guardian (UK) that he was hoping for change with President Obama’s reelection. It was change in security/privacy that he was initially promised, but never delivered… so he made his own choice to attempt to fix it himself the only way he knew how. The leaking of the phone record data collection and the PRISM documents sparked change in many different ways… including the unfortunate run-in with militant groups who read about the types of data collection practices, but also by international governments reviewing their interactions with American parent companies like Google and requiring rewrites of policies, to the FTC pushing harder on their “Reclaim Your Name” initiative - both of which having positive outcomes.

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NSA Surveillance May Have Dealt Major Blow To Global Internet Freedom Efforts

NSA Surveillance May Have Dealt Major Blow To Global Internet Freedom Efforts | Is internet privacy going to change in light of recent NSA leaks? | Scoop.it
(source: WSJ) Protesters in India marched against internet censorship last year The internet has never been a perfect tool for advancing democracy and human rights.
Danielle May's insight:

The author of this Forbes article paints a seemingly dark picture of what is to come for the internet and that it is no longer a "positive, freedom-promoting global force". There are thoughts and fears that the internet and surveillance like PRISM ill do nothing but grow and become more powerful regardless of the NSA leaks. America might have just created a blue-print "for how authoritarian governments can store, tack, and mine their citizens' digital lives."

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Following NSA leaks, inaction allows surveillance to become commonplace in American society | The Chicago Monitor

Following NSA leaks, inaction allows surveillance to become commonplace in American society | The Chicago Monitor | Is internet privacy going to change in light of recent NSA leaks? | Scoop.it
Danielle May's insight:

This article talks about the past and how similar situations to the ones described in Snowden's leaks have occurred. In 2006 USA Today reported similar data requests sent to AT&T and Bell South as a part of the PRISM program. In tying our readings with this article, the Timeline of Privacy shows that the American poulations' communications have been tapped or been read as far back as the 1700's when US mail was routinely read as it passed through the postal service. Some citizens simply accept these measures as "commonplace" in our society and therefore believe that nothing will change no matter how hard some push back.

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Obama: No one listening to your calls

Obama: No one listening to your calls | Is internet privacy going to change in light of recent NSA leaks? | Scoop.it
All the revelations about U.S. surveillance programs in recent days have put the government on the defensive and set privacy advocates howling for reform.
Danielle May's insight:

Spying Explained! President Obama takes time shortly after the news of the NSA leaks to express how they are using metadata (aka data about data - i.e. phone numbers) to build ties and possible leads to terrorist activities. He goes on to explain that the NSA is NOT listening to or reading the content of your phone calls. Ther article following the video goes into more detail about the inner workings of online monitoring as well. As much as the leaks frightened the American publice, there have been similar situations in the past which mirror this occurance. Previous efforts stem back as far as 2001 (in relation to the "War on Terror"). There are other situations that claim a similar motive in listening in on American citizens... one of which was Watergate with President Nixon and another eing President Bush (W). There's a fine line to be walked when taking privacy and national security into perspective. Some believe that these leaks will change things in the government and how they act... others just think that this is the way we live and how it will be from now on.

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Can Reclaim Your Name Resonate Like Do Not Track?

Can Reclaim Your Name Resonate Like Do Not Track? | Is internet privacy going to change in light of recent NSA leaks? | Scoop.it
What's in a slogan? To the Federal Trade Commission, which is trying to goad an industry into adopting voluntary guidelines on data privacy issues, a catchy phrase might offer a lot of value. Take Do Not Track.
Danielle May's insight:

Some supporting information on "Reclaim Your Name" - it appears that this initiative has been in the works for the past year or more. However, in light of recent NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, Julie Brill is pushing harder for voluntary involvement in this program while pushing to make these standards required. Brill's speech regarding big data / data mining is linked in this article. She speeaks to the point that there is no need to pass judgement on the NSA or Snowden for their actions, but this is the time to acknowledge the debate on how to balance national security against citizens' privacy. Brill has strong feelings towards changing requirements in internet privacy and transparency.

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The Service of Snowden

The Service of Snowden | Is internet privacy going to change in light of recent NSA leaks? | Scoop.it
Deluded geek endangering his country or brave American? History will judge Snowden kindly.
Danielle May's insight:

Some call Edward Snowden a traitor others consider him a hero. Snowden stated that he did what he did in order to let the public know that it's own government was collecting, storing, and sorting through their own personal information. The entire purpose of his ordeal was to insight change... change that our President promised but has failed yet to offer. The line between privacy and security is a fine one and Snowden felt that transparency was necessary in the case of PRISM and the phone record requests.

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America: Choosing Security Over Liberty Since 1798 - By Hayes Brown

America: Choosing Security Over Liberty Since 1798 - By Hayes Brown | Is internet privacy going to change in light of recent NSA leaks? | Scoop.it
Danielle May's insight:

Is history repeatng itself??? It seem that surveillance programs in the US in not a new thing.. regardless of how shocked the public may be every time the news is brought into the spotlight. 2005 - the NSA was outed for attempting to illegally wire-tap American citizens without a warrant. In the 1960s & 70s, the FBI Counterintelligence Progam "snooped" on those across the ideological spectrum (Black Panthers, KKK, etc.). These are only a few examples mentioned in the article. All of these tactics were used and "justified" stating that it was necessary in order to protect security. Each one of the items mentioned (as far back as 1798) resulted in some type of new legislation that either legalized their previously illegal act or put controls around that type of interaction. There was no change for the general public in most cases - regardless of the positive or negative outcome... majority of the change occurred within the government, leaving the people to go about their lives like noting ever happened.

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Post PRISM: Encrypted communications boom after NSA leaks

As governments use all powers at their disposal to pry into the lives of ordinary citizens worldwide, people are trying to protect themselves - seeking out s...
Danielle May's insight:

This video found on YouTube, but from Russia Today (RT) News, brings about an interesting perspective on what will change and how it will change in the future. With the news of the NSA leaks, the reporter in this story states that change will come from within the user themselves. The choices you make as a user can help protect your privacy. Using the Netherland based search engine "Startpage.com" ensures that your IP address is not tracked when performing searches. Also, there are a number of data encryption software packages downloadable in the marketplace today; however, this type of security will come at a price. Is your privacy worth the extra monthly fee? 

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Al-Qaida, other militants said to be changing procedures to avoid surveillance after NSA leaks

Al-Qaida, other militants said to be changing procedures to avoid surveillance after NSA leaks | Is internet privacy going to change in light of recent NSA leaks? | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence agencies are scrambling to salvage their surveillance of al-Qaida and other terrorists who are working frantically to change how they communicate after a National Security Agency contractor leaked details of two NSA...
Danielle May's insight:

Of all the articles I read about what will and will not change as a result of the NSA leaks, I found this one to be the most abrupt. When most people reach out to learn about the leaks and how it affects the US population, there's an egotistical approach to their research. They want to know how this breaking news is affecting them and what it means for their own day to day lives... It takes a militant mind to think about the aftermath in terms of how terrorist organizations, possibly communicating in and out of the US at this very moment, will go about changing their methods. The FBI is now back at square one attempting to find a way to figure out what new methods terrorists will be using to communicate. This is one way that the leaks have changed privacy - but I wouldn't necessarily say that it is for the better or for the right people for that matter.

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Some shrug at NSA snooping: Privacy's already dead

Some shrug at NSA snooping: Privacy's already dead | Is internet privacy going to change in light of recent NSA leaks? | Scoop.it
A series of revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs sparked outrage among many this week, including the expected privacy activists and civil libertarians.
Danielle May's insight:

There are many people who believe that things will not change as a result of Snowden's sacrifice. They were not entirely 'shocked' at the information supplied by the NSA leaks. As quoted in this article, 85% of Americans (prior to the leak) believed that their emails, phone calls, and internet activity was already being monitored. Some people, knowing that their information is not "private" still willingly put it out there others to see. They are OK sacrificing those privacies if it means better security for the nation. That right there is the sticky part of the entire privacy debate. Some have the attitude that this is how it is and how it will be... there's nothing we can do about it.

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The Circuit: PRISM complaints filed in Europe; big data and privacy; Twitter CEO in D.C.

A student group is suing the European subsidiaries of Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype, Yahoo.
Danielle May's insight:

In light of PRISM, European groups are filing complaints against European subsidiaries of US parent companies such as Facebook, YouTube, Apple, Yahoo, etc. The main issue in question is whether or not Facebook (and others) are abiding by European data laws which require data transferred between subsidiaries and US parent companies to be done so in a secure manner. The FTC commissioner Julie Brill began a program called "Reclaim Your Name" that is "aimed at providing consumers wit the knowledge and technological tools to reassert some control over their personal data."

The creation and implementation of this program will begin a new age in privacy. Items will no longer be done in the background. There will be a sense of transparency in internet privacy when this gets off the ground.

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France orders Google to change its privacy policies

France orders Google to change its privacy policies | Is internet privacy going to change in light of recent NSA leaks? | Scoop.it
Charged with violations of the French Data Protection Act, the search giant is under the gun to rework how it handles personal data. Read this article by Lance Whitney on CNET News.
Danielle May's insight:

One change that is certainly going to come about as a result of the NSA leaks is what is mentioned here in this article about France and Google. Google was charged with collecting user data in ways that violate French law. As a result, the French government is imposing a number of required changes on Google or else they will have to face a hefty fine.

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