Maintaining the privacy of its citizens has been one of the biggest concerns for the world after the Snowden Leaks in 2013. The NSA’s mass surveillance program took a hit when important documents relating the programs were unveiled. The classified documents contained information about the methods employed by the government to conduct a large-scale surveillance program.
Such a revelation has brought the issue of privacy to the forefront. Citizens and netizens are equally concerned with the privacy issues. This was all possible due to the tireless efforts of Mr. Snowden. So, what are the aftermaths of the Snowden leaks? Let’s find out.
After less than 24 hours of the revelation about NSA, the second bomb was dropped on the public in the form of PRISM. The program was used to collect information from 9 major Internet Service companies. Contrary to the popular perception, PRISM doesn’t have direct access to the servers of several giants such as Facebook, Google, and Apple. Instead, the NSA requests such servers to deliver them with user data.
It was the most controversial revelation leading to the companies fighting for more transparency in government’s data requests. Due to their efforts, the government was finally compelled to be more transparent and has agreed to ease some restrictions.
World Wide surveillance by the NSA
Documents leaked by Snowden also revealed that the NSA had used its program to spy on several world leaders including leaders as well as the foreign government from powerful countries like India and Russia. According to the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, at least, 122 leaders all over the world were targeted by the NSA.
Snowden leaks made privacy a real concern for many
Arguments like,” I have nothing to hide from the government”, and “lack of privacy is not a concern for me” have fallen flat on their faces. People are more aware of the repercussion of privacy infringements. However, many are still delusional about the methods in which their data can be sold to the government.
Social media sites are using your location on a day to day basis, as well as they are capable of identifying you and tagging you. Such functions are possible only because you have consented that such data be used by them. Personal security takes a back seat if you mindlessly allow any app to be installed on your system without really looking into the data that it can access.
Cracking encryption and undermining Internet security
Encryption protects the data on the internet by making it unreadable to anyone present in between. Encryption makes the data, present on the internet, useless for the government authorities spying on the netizens. Thus, NSA has developed different methods for bypassing encryption all over the web.
Since NSA is unable to crack the encryption algorithms, so, they are circumventing the encryption process. Installation of backdoors, promotion of the use of weaker algorithms, and hacking servers are some of the common techniques employed by NSA to gain access to the encrypted data.
Patching the ends
Thanks to the Snowden leaks, corporations are now installing hi-end technology to stop interception of data of their customers. Apple has installed an end-to-end encryption on Apple devices, whereas Google advocated for making TLS encryption mandatory for emails and websites. Not only have the corporates, but also the activists and privacy advocates have helped brought the issue to the forefront. Now, almost everyone is aware of the eavesdropping attempts by the government agencies and have started to deal with them accordingly.
The Snowden leaks took the world by storm, and it took a while before everyone settled down. The silver lining in the cloud was the fact that it brought the issue of privacy for a public debate and increased awareness about it in the process. People’s demands have forced the companies to adopt measures to stop privacy infringement. People are also taking all the measures to keep such intruders away.