Broadly speaking the adage that if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to be afraid of, is something I agree with. That said what I’ve been reading about PRISM is more than a little worrying.
The collection and collation of data from almost every major provider on the web, by a foreign power, is terrifying in the extreme. Not because of anything I’ve said or done but because of the potential for the rules to change, for the data they’ve already collected to retrospectively become suspect, for my life to be turned upside down by a change in the rules.
President Obama has of course addressed the good people – or folks as he would no doubt have it – of the United States of America to stress that PRISM – which is one of the most far-reaching internet spy programs ever seen, a program that sucks data from Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and other monolithic US technology companies – is nothing to worry about. Yay! He said:
With respect to internet and emails, this does not apply to US citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United States.
Well, that’s a comfort. Right? Oh, hang on no, no it’s not, it’s no comfort whatsoever, seeing as I’m a British citizen I’m one of them there people that this applies to. Great, I’m being spied on.
With effort I can almost understand why access to this volume of data might be necessary in certain situations but they are so very extreme and exceptional that I can’t honestly believe the efforts that have been made into the creation of this system have been made with simply the protection of the people of the USA from foreign powers in mind.
To my mind PRISM’s ability to monitor, what appears to be the world’s communications, will be – or perhaps already has been – too much of a temptation to the US government not to be used for its corporate associates. That’s more of a worry than anything else.
Whichever way you cut it though, PRISM’s existence is worrying but not entirely unexpected. We should watch for any further revelations, as I have a feeling things are only going to get more uncomfortable the more we find out.