Security and privacy has been a highly controversial issue since the Edward Snowden NSA information leak. In a constantly growing world of technology, humanity is facing increasing pressures to be responsible when using their phones and the internet; however, it now seems that taking the “normal” precautionary measures is not enough to battle against the exposure of private information. A recent Wired.com article, In Just 6 Months, the NSA spied on More Than 59,000, revealed that four of the technology industry’s giants (Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo) have all released reports stating that the government has covertly demanded the contents of over 59,000 user accounts in the first half of 2013. The first half of 2013! If they can secure 59,000 accounts’ worth of information in that short of a time, what do you think they will do in the coming years?
While the government does require that it formally requests information from tech companies, Google and Yahoo revealed that the amount of accounts spied on does not match the number of government demands. Although I realize that the government is acting on behalf of American citizens to protect them from terrorism, I am also rather infuriated that the government is taking such “liberties” to force companies into sharing massive amounts private information stored on their systems. There is a certain amount of data that benefits the government’s anti-terrorism activities; however, the amount of spying on citizens who are not even considered “threats” is becoming excessive and violating citizens’ privacy rights.
Although I am worried about the future of American citizens’ privacy protection, companies such as Google and Yahoo are beginning to fight for the peoples’ rights. They have taken matters into their own hands by petitioning the government to significantly expand on its transparency report. This would allow technology companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to publish specific information regarding government demands for access to user account information. The fact that large technology companies are now standing up for the rights of their account users provides me with hope that the government cannot proceed to unethically obtain private information. It will be interesting to see how this issue pans out in the next couple of years.