Internet Security – privacy vs national security
// Posted by Tec on 02/18/2014 (12:38 PM)
“You can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act” (The Guardian, 2013). This is what Edward Snowden, one of the most controversial american whistleblowers responsible for the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance revelations, said to The Guardian newspaper this past year during an interview held in Hong Kong while his assylum there. Nervous but calm at the same time, almost as if he was just waiting for the CIA’s knock on the door, he held a large number of interviews stating that he didn’t regret his acts because “I [Snowden] can’t, in good conscience, allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretely building” (The Guardian, 2013).
This last statement leads to the purpose of this entry. Until what point the government is capable of permitting, or not permitting, people to use the internet as they wish? Are territorial and jurisdictional boundaries supposed to apply on cyberspace matters? Is “national security” more important tan civil and personal privacy? Until what point is the government eager to intervene on personal matters to achieve this so called security and prevention?
Another event we cannot leave aside are the WikiLeaks and his founder and editor, Julian Assange. As well as Snowden, Assange didn’t hesitate on revealing many disturbing “cables” on a website run by his team, that also uncovered many US Government secrets. According to journalist Glen Greenwald, “The WikiLeaks is being targeted by the U.S. Government for surveillance and disruption is beyond doubt. And it underscores how vital their work is and why it’s such a threat” (Greenwald, 2010). As he mentions later on, the fact that the US Government is so eager to cripple this site entirely, and more recently to imprison Snowden, gives a lot to say about the truth found in these documents. Snowden, as well as Assange, do not like to be considered as “heroes”. But, what if they are? As Snowden stated, a true leader is that who acts first, and the fact that he had the courage to leave the country and his comfortable life to make a very serious revelation that concerned the entire world couldn’t make him less of a Superman.
That being said, it is now our obligation to reflect on what is the US Government doing to “protect its citizens”. Not only are americans being spied on and being deprived of their privacy, but also us mexicans because we are “seen as a threat” to the state. I truly believe that the Government should set limits on their intromission on people’s free will and on their/our precious privacy. The so called “American Dream” that incited those aboard on the Mayflower a long time ago has turned into something far more dangerous, and more importantly, far more illegal in terms of Human Rights.
In terms of territorial cyberspace, I believe the internet was created for the people, so it belongs to the people. But, after analyzing Sassen’s point of view on digital networks, it could’t hurt us to interrogate these notions that assume “that digital space is a global and not national domain and capability”. Could that be the solution to all this massive surveillance the US government is doing? Or will it just be a victory for them to supress even more their people’s freedom of speech?
Ana Isabel Sánchez Meléndez A01034743
ITESM – Monterrey