By now, everyone has heard about the NSA program which collected (and continues to collect) private information about calls made by Verizon users. That turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. It’s now been revealed that a much more comprehensive and intrusive program called PRISM has been monitoring all sorts of live communications, including video chats, e-mails and text messages. Although it’s unclear to what extent big tech companies like Google and Facebook have allowed the government to access information about users, it’s clear that they’ve played a part in allowing government access to private information.
What broke as a story about phone calls being monitored has expanded into a much larger one that paints an Orwellian picture of surveillance in the United States. In the middle of it all are ordinary people, unsure of whether they can trust companies or elected officials to keep their information private.
What do these stories mean in terms of your mobile security? Is mobile security even possible any more? The struggle to boost national security and simultaneously ensure the privacy of citizens has once again come to the forefront, with groups like the ACLU filing a class act against the Obama Administration and a huge uproar exploding in every corner of the web.
Government officials are trying to downplay the importance of ‘metadata,’ a word that has entered the mainstream now. Once an industry term used by insiders, metadata has now become a real concern for the averager user. Metadata could reveal the duration of calls, websites you visit, the order in which you place certains calls or other general statistics that add up to paint a broader picture about you.
The next few weeks are sure to reveal much more about the extent of the program and how far-reaching its intrusion really is. In the meantime, do you find yourself frustrated by the government’s actions? Or are they justified in the case of pursuing threats to national security? Some may shrug their shoulders and say that what we’re experiencing is an unavoidable byproduct of living in a digital age, but security doesn’t always have to come at the expense of privacy. Make sure you arm yourself with the tools to keep Big Brother at bay. As the past weeks have shown, there’s no telling who could be watching!