Personal privacy on the Internet is one of the most important topics in current events today.   Is privacy truly the new luxury expenditure?  Would you pay for a subscription to Google or the social media platforms if your privacy was guaranteed, and all ads were on an opt-in basis? Or would you hire a pair of meerkats?

The Snowden affair is an indication of the state of privacy on the Internet.  “Snowden was an employee and technical contractor for the United States National Security Agency, and a former employee of the Central Intelligence who leaked details of several top-secret United States and British government mass surveillance programs to the press.” (Wikipedia)  This surveillance included information obtained from Google, Verizon, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, and Microsoft.

His disclosures have fueled a variety of debates branding him a hero/whistleblower or a traitor.  His stand is “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name (the war on terror) and that which is done against them”(the 4th amendment).

Here is the excerpt from the Bill of Rights, and is known as the 4th amendment.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

In an article in the Guardian, a British newspaper, John Naughton (a newspaper columnist) writes in an editorial piece, that the media is telling the wrong story: “the story here is where the proper balance between freedom and security lies”.   The most important outcome of this he feels is that the days of the Internet as a truly open global network are numbered if governments can demand wholesale information on its citizens activities.  And, how do you divide the Internet and which country is watching what and whom?

In conclusion, Mr. Naughton quotes Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European commission, "If businesses or governments think they might be spied on," she said, "they will have less reason to trust the cloud, and it will be cloud providers who ultimately miss out. Why would you pay someone else to hold your commercial or other secrets, if you suspect or know they are being shared against your wishes? Front or back door – it doesn't matter – any smart person doesn't want the information shared at all. Customers will act rationally and providers will miss out on a great opportunity."

What do you think?

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

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