Posted on | June 7, 2013 | 3 comments
It’s hard to argue against the notion that federal authorities need to do all that they can to defend America from terrorist attacks.
But the revelations about Prism, the intelligence gathering program that involves data mining Internet traffic records tapped from Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook raises a sticky dilemma.
In this age of Internet-connected smartphones and touch tablets — and pervasive use of social media — it’s possible to triangulate not just our personal preferences but also who we associate with and where we go during the course of an ordinary day.
The tech companies who are guiding us deeper into the Internet cloud, and performing this triangulation, are doing so to profile us to sell targeted advertising.
PRISM exists because this rich intelligence is useful for keeping terrorists in check.
The question now becomes one of balancing national security interests against an individuals right to privacy.
The traditional legal notion of privacy amounts to the right to be left alone.
But history is replete with examples of authoritarian regimes using intelligence gathering to oppress people unfairly.
The question going forward is whether existing rules and industry standards are adequate to keep things in balance.
Some privacy experts are already calling on Congress to do more to tighten down the system of checks and balance.
Given the global attention to PRISM higher Congressional scrutiny seems likely. And you can be sure that Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple will lead the way in sharpening industry protocals to head off any new regulations.