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PRISM and the damage done


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source: wikipedia

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”
Article 12 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

PRISM is everywhere. Marc Snowden has done humanity – yes, humanity! –  a big favour unveiling this massive and unlawful intrusion of privacy by the US and, under different names, by a couple of other nations around the globe.
 

the NSA is not one of the “the good guys”

Each day we hear the NSA telling the American people that their constitutional rights have not been violated and everything is only in order to protect them from the evil dangers of terrorism. So, at least according to the NSA, American citizens can be happy. But what about the rest of the world, what about really close allies such as the countries of the European Union?

Who can ever call mass surveillance of European communication by the NSA (and others) legitimate?

Who can ever call NSA’s spying on European governments and even the European Commission itself legitimate?

Even if this may be legal in terms of US law, I as an European citizen give a damn shit about US laws – sorry. The only reason for spying on our very own governments is espionage, nothing more.

And what right does the NSA or even worse, the British GCHQ have to spy on my very own communications? The British Government is especially spying on its European neighbours, on the basis of what laws and for what purposes? To protect British people from evil terrorist attacks it is necessary to spy on every phone call I have made or every email I may have sent?

incomparable to “cold war” times

Sometimes, even in Europe, people tell you that we been surveilled for a long time, mostly starting with the cold war area and so the news about PRISM isn’t really “news”. But that is simply not true.

Even if every phone call and every telegram had really been monitored then, that covered only a very small amount of people’s real lifes.

In time where hundreds of millions of people are globally using social media and massively use cloud storage to backup their personal data like photos, things have changed. Now you have access to almost every aspect of ordinary people’s lifes.

And no, the answer is not to say: then don’t use social media and cloud store, the answer must be: stop spying on private data! And stop claiming that this has anything to do with “terrorist threats”!

NSA and GCHQ are truly poisoning relations

The extend of the surveillance is just beyond imagination and beyond anything that can be used as an acceptable excuse or exception.

The outcome of this all is dramatically increased mistrust towards countries that a huge part of European “educated people” formally regarded as trustworthy. Even though we all “knew” that secret agencies were doing things in some legal limbo, no one could – and wanted – to imagine the unveiled extends of their operations.

And I cannot help but to see the emerging of a truely global surveillance system, operated and controlled by only a very small number of people from an ever smaller number of countries. The terminus technicus for such a system is “police state”, where freedom is the exception and not the rule.

How European governments profit from PRISM

Due to legal and political concerns, I guess it would be quite impossible to implement a national or pan-European surveillance system without an outcry of the civil society.

So what is the solution? Let others spy for you! Usually, national security agencies are restricted from spying on nationals (like the NSA). So what’s more logic than gaining the wanted data from other nations’ friendly agencies?

Europeans must stand up

I guess, every politically and technically interested European has understood quite well now, what is really going on. Conspiracy theories that one could laugh about before, have become reality.

One can not thank Marc Snowden enough for providing the actual evidence.

It’s a real shame that Europe practically refuses asylum for Snowden, hiding behind absurd formalities of asylum laws.

As both an European citizen and entrepreneur, I have highest interest that my and my companies’ data is as secure from being spied upon as possible.

And so I think that it is high time to create truly European Union infrastructures, under the sole control of European Union legislation, a “European web of trust”, so to speak.

That can only be achieved with the participation of the European civil society and European companies and certainly not behind closed doors.

Conclusion

During this summer’s vaccation, I reread George Orwells “1984” [1], that he published in 1949(!). I can only recommend the book to anyone else. The NSA’s resemblance with the “Ministry of Love” is stunning, both in the ways what they do but also how they justify their deeds.

I am not too positive that the so called “mass” of people will actually stand up and shout “stop this!”. Not because they don’t care but more because they consider it inevitable and maybe even necessary.

But I am somewhat optimistic, that “well educated” people, companies and organizations in Europe, or to be more precise, the European Union will stand together. Signs of that are already recognizable.

[1] downloadable version of George Orwell’s “1984”

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