I can’t ignore Edward Snowden’s whistle-blowing revelation: The US government is snooping much more than our US Constitution allows on the private communications of its citizens, residents, and even lawmakers. Not to mention the rampant electronic eavesdropping being carried out by our spies hacking Internet and phone systems in most other countries. This is not a good time to be an American in the world. It’s embarrassing to be living in a “democratic” country that has turned fascist since 9/11.
It’s not my practice to speak out on politics to my clients. But I can’t ignore the fact that my most loyal customers have been discussing these events quite volubly online since the news broke. Their consternation isn’t so much political as it is technical: it appears that the NSA’s snooping has actually compromised ALL of the certificate-authority based security provisions that our entire global economy depends upon!
There are two main consequences from these revelations that I foresee. But I also fear that PR spin, human nature (bury our heads in the sand), and apathy (I have other things to worry about; I don’t have time to worry about whether I’m being spied upon) will, once again, prevail.
Consequence #1: Americans and global citizens will demand an end to government intrusion (anyone’s government) on our private communications. I believe that there will be political repercussions. Perhaps the emergence of a viable third-party movement in this country, combined with cyber-demonstrations and actual demonstrations around the world. Maybe some high-placed heads will roll.
Consequence #2: Smart people will take steps to protect their own important communications and transactions—both personal and business proprietary. Snowden himself recommended the use of PGP security for his correspondents. I expect that alternative anonymous end-to-end encrypted (protected even from our government) networking and cloud solutions will begin to flood the market. We will look back on this open Internet, open cloud computing, free-wheeling, social networking era with nostalgia. Just as the recent film, the Great Gatsby, celebrates the excesses of the idle rich in the roaring ‘20s, we’ll look back on the last decade with morbid fascination. How could we have been so carefree and careless? Why did we think Big Brother wasn’t slurping up every candid conversation we had?
Here are some of the most insightful articles/blog posts Patty’s Pioneers have been writing, sharing and discussing. Special thanks to “Master Curator” Scott Jordan, who finds many of these gems!
Edward Snowden and His Revelations:
Are Normal US Citizens at Risk?
How Long Has This Been Going On? And What IS the NSA Doing?
Political Left & Right:
If Corporations Can Monitor Us; Why Not the Government?
Should the government know less than Google? Comment from Peter Horne: The point this misses is that you can walk away from Google and they won't follow you down the road to MS, Apple, or what other service you use...
Boundless Informant NSA data-mining tool – four key slides – How do open source nerds feel about maintaining and evolving this infrastructure now?