11 February 2014
Where do you stand on government surveillance? Is it a necessary part of preventing terrorism or have the Snowden revelations and subsequent reports made you feel like they’re wrongly invading our privacy? Of the two opinions, my own chimes most with the latter and although I am of the belief that most things in life succeed because they take two things and strike a good balance between them, I’m not convinced the NSA have been taking this kind of approach.
Unsurprisingly, I’m not the only one. As well as being Safer Internet Day, a number of big names, including Greenpeace, Tumblr and Mozilla, have dubbed today “The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance”. Whilst it originated in America in the wake of the NSA scandals, I think it goes further than this and is a sign that we won’t stand for legally questionable or unnecessary snooping on our personal communications data.
We’ve seen a huge upsurge in organisations coming to UKFast simply because we’re based in the UK and aren’t within reach of the USA’s Patriot Act. Whilst GCHQ has also come under fire recently, I think it’s fair to say that there’s still a more robust layer of protection in British companies hosting data here rather than overseas.
Ultimately, what today’s protest against the NSA – and mass digital surveillance in general – goes to show is that whilst we understand the need to pre-empt and protect against criminal acts, we also see the value of imposing stricter, more regulated rules for organisations to adhere to. Without that level of trust there, the gap between ‘us’ and ‘them’ – the government and the public – will only continue to grow.