Your Privacy is at Risk

by ProvocativeTrash on January 26, 2015 - 7:25pm

With the recent “hack” at Sony, there is a growing number of concern by corporations and state official considering the security of the internet. The United States government has especially been vocal about such an issue, as it is pushing for strengthened laws against cybercrime. The White House commented on the matter, stating that the incident was considered a “national security issue”.

A legislative proposal was introduced concerning information sharing between the private and government with the goal of facilitating a more open data flow from webservice to government intelligence agencies (ie: CIA, NSA, FBI). According to hollywoodreporter, the legislation could potentially lead to the formation of “Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations”. The proposal would also criminalize sale of stolen credit cards, spyware, ID theft and the sale of botnets, used to surcharge internet connections with the goal of causing network outages. While these are aimed at criminalizing legitimately immoral acts, American voters should be weary of the implications of the analysis and processing of their internet data.

Chris Dodd, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America commented on the proposals, saying that the changes would “protect” U.S. consumers and businesses. Dodd went on to show his support for giving law enforcement more power to combat criminal activities online. He also mentioned that he feels that firms providing services related to search or internet access should be more responsible when it comes to limiting access to illegal content.

Whenever laws pop up in the United States,  the main thing citizens should do is ask “how will this affect me?” In the case of the proposed legislation, there seems to be a large wave of both corporate and government parties, especially media content distributors and hollywood lobbyists. The end consumer, on the other hand, should be more skeptical about the proposals and the abuse that would be possible if such laws were ratified.  When the NSA scandal came out, it was revealed that there was already a flow of information from corporate firms such as Google and Yahoo to the government. With the formation of “Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations”, snooping on the online activities of consumers would become officially legal, sort of like a “Big Brother” situation from George Orwell’s 1984. Laws of this kind would potentially allow the monitoring of billions of people and the formation of analytical databases. After all, the NSA is building one of the world’s largest datacenters, presumably for it’s spying operations.

Once a law is passed, it is very difficult to repeal, especially with the heavily lobbied US congress. The US government reinforces that no misuses will occur, but is it safe to blindly follow their statements? Cases like those of Eric Garner, who was unreasonably murdered by a New York City policeman show that there is no accountability for those who hold a greater power. With such data collection, could the government not blackmail political and/or protest leaders into submitting to demands? While the possibilities at hand sound like those that a conspiracy quack would spew, they are very real and very possible. These are only a few of reasons why the web should remain open and governed by no one, because the instant any control is exerted onto the foundation of information exchange is the instant that freedom will die.