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Looking through the PRISM

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July 24, 2013 by thejalebichronicles

Malice in Wonderland: Scorn for mainstream information that will shatter the image of Wonderland that we all have of the world.

Data%20Privacy

Privacy and the law have always been in conflict since the beginning of time. The ambiguous border between the ‘right to privacy’ and ‘everything is acceptable in the name of national security’ has never been clearly demarcated. The NSA’s snooping scandal, which is nothing short of privacy invasion has resulted in uproar across the globe. Here’s where things start getting dicey.

  WHAT IS IT?

NSA-LogoThe National Security Agency (NSA) has been running an incognito program since 2007 which is officially known as US-984XN and is codenamed PRISM. PRISM is an electronic surveillance program that monitors and all your e-activities, ranging from your comments on Facebook to that particular fetish you look up on Google to the secret recipes emailed via Hotmail to the bomb making manual Bin Laden uploaded to Dropbox right before he died. Everything is open to scrutiny!  

WHY THE UPROAR?

The concept of e-surveillance is not new and has been implemented worldwide over the past decade. The problem arises when the usage is arbitrary. Due to lack of safeguards, PRISM can open ANYONE’s e-activities and snoop around, even without a warrant. Whether the person is a college student with Asian heritage or a terrorist from Mali-everyone’s personal data is open to analysis which is, naturally very disturbing. Should a person who is not even remotely related to any suspicious activity be under the purview of a government body?

It is reasonable to monitor suspects and with that concept in mind, the search warrant was invented. However, this program gives the NSA complete rights to barge into our lives, ( digitally speaking, of course.) The program is akin to the police marching into your room and searching your underwear drawer just because a bomb blast occurred 2000 miles away. Also, one of the key reasons for political uproar is that Barack Obama, in his 2008 campaign, had promised to right the wrongs of his predecessor, Geroge Bush. Ironically, 5 years later he is defending a project which was George Bush’s brain child.

WHO’S INVOLVED?

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To put it in one word, everyone. All major internet giants like Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc have been coerced into deals or forced via legal loopholes to secretly hand over user data for this program. The government of the United States of America is involved on multiple levels, resulting in a cross linked spider web connecting the executive, legislative and judicial organs of governance. Also, governments from the world over are involved in this as many nations often tap into this meticulously designed system for their own operations.

WHO IS AFFECTED?

To put it simply, everyone. The logic is very simple; all major internet companies, responsible for nearly 95% of the internet traffic, have their main servers located in the USA, thus leaving them open to the country’s jurisdiction. Whoever you are and whatever you are doing is no longer private.  It’s like trying to use the washroom with your door wide open and people staring at you, telling you that they’re doing this to save you.

HOW IS INDIA AFFECTED?

India’s data is being compromised just like any other country’s, and our massive population ensures that the numbers are against us. Since April , the government has been putting together a programme called ICMS( Indian Central Monitoring System) which resembles the PRISM programme but is far more efficient in terms of legality. The budget for this programme is roughly 400 crore rupees and is being silently maneuvered by the government.  

WHO IS THE WHISTLE BLOWER?

Edward-SnowdenEdward Snowden, 29, is a former NSA employee who on 6th June, 2013 released confidential items to the media and exposed this huge betrayal of the public’s trust, especially from an administration that nailed Bin Laden. He was last seen getting temporary asylum documents at Moscow,Russia to arrange his further travel to Venezuela where he has been granted political asylum.

WE CONCLUDE WITH:

This programme has boiled down to one question: Where does a person’s privacy end? Although multiple people throughout history have managed to establish an answer to this question, its ambiguity on a global scale is what remains questioned. It all comes down to this: Are you willing to adopt a world where you are monitored 24/7 and everything you own is open to scrutiny? If no, then my friend, it is time to raise your voice.

–          Siddharth Gupta

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2 thoughts on “Looking through the PRISM

  1. naseef says:

    short and well put.
    Excellent article, Sidharth.

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