Top 10 PRISM revelations as spy scandal rumbles on

It has been several months since the PRISM spying scandal broke, and the revelations have been coming thick and fast since whistleblower Edward Snowden handed over everything he knew and fled to Hong Kong.

The fallout has been huge, with top spy chiefs forced to give evidence in public about the methods used and major tech giants demanding changes in the law relating to the ways in which they are often required to give evidence.

For businesses of all types the issues raised have also been noteworthy, with fresh concerns over how private data is when stored in the cloud and flowing over public networks. With all this in mind, V3 has put together ten major revelations that we have one Mr Snowden to thank for.

10. World leaders' phones were tapped
angelamerkelTapping the phones of important people is something only done by newspapers and Cold War governments, right? Well, after PRISM and the subsequent fallout it seems not, as reports have shown 35 world leaders have been bugged by the US.

It started with Angela Merkel blasting the US for these activities, and then reports that some 60 million Spanish phone calls were logged as well as the spy agencies seemingly monitored everything from important political discussions to plans for tapas one evening.

The fact this came after claims offices were bugged in the European Commission by the US only underlined that Cold War spying tactics are alive and well.

9. Network traffic was targeted
Dripping tapWhen you think about it, you shouldn't really be surprised that governments of all shapes and sizes seem to be monitoring web traffic. You can certainly understand their reasoning: if the data is available and it helps catch the bad guys, it should probably be done. To some extent, at least.
What has shocked many, however, is the all-encompassing methods that have been used. Billions upon billions of emails, Facebook messages and phone calls have not just passed through UK and US servers, but also been stored.

And while they can't possibly have the space to keep it all, it does make you wonder how much of your own internet history has passed before the bleary eyes of a GCHQ analyst. Food for thought.
8. Internal internets could arise
german flagSince news of PRISM broke, numerous businesses have feared that the scandal will cause governments to take overly protectionist steps to govern the internet. These fears have since proven justified, with word breaking that numerous governments are considering creating internal internets.

This started in October when Deutsche Telekom confirmed to V3 that the company has started working to make it more difficult for intelligence agencies such as the US National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor web traffic by redirecting it through domestic servers.

It continued when Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff announced plans to create a new NSA-proof "secure email" service within the country. While it’s not clear how these systems work, it is a definite sign governments are losing trust in US companies and governments, a trend that, if it continues, will have a lasting impact on the global economy.

7. UK needs better privacy and surveillance laws

magnifying glassOne constant defence we’ve heard from intelligence agencies caught up in the PRISM scandal, such as the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is that all their data use was legal.
This claim has since been backed up by the UK government, which said GCHQ acted entirely within the letter of the law following an investigation into its use of PRISM data.

This has led many to call for new privacy legislation that will block operations such as PRISM. Given the fact that intelligence agencies will continue mounting data-gathering operations as long as they are legal, there is definitely some merit to these groups’ calls for change.

6. Tech vendors start standing up to political power
boxingThe public dismay at the extent of spying by the government agencies has given renewed power to the tech vendors caught up in the scandal. Microsoft, Google and many others have found common cause in fighting back against governments.

They want to have more power to reveal the sorts of data requests they are asked for by governments and to make public the times when they do give up data. With the PRISM scandal they may well find this easier to do.

So far the powers that be seem reluctant to acquiesce to such demands, but given the clout the big tech vendors have – as well as the backing of the public – the laws of the US, and the UK, could possibly change in due course.

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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

I really like to read reviews and see what's new about technology, on D-BLOG I share with you articles/reviews that I find interesting. I also write some reviews in romanian...

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1 comentarii:

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