There have been plenty of recent stories of invasions of privacy, from website leaks, hacks and releasing of customer data, to privacy policies on websites that are encourage the sharing of more and more information.
What are we willing to give up, what is the price of your privacy.
Now that we have proof of Governments snooping on even it’s own citizens, this question is even more important.
I believe that Governments need access to certain information to help protect it’s citizens and am not really surprised to hear of the capability that is being used.
What does surprise me more (and it probably shouldn’t) is the abuse of power that these agencies appear to be using.
Having specific targets to go and find information about seems to be the right balance, rather than the blanket hoovering up of data that seems to be happening.
One of the latest outcomes is a letter from the US Senate to the Director of Intelligence James Clapper spelling out that having a “secret body of law” described as deliberate reinterpretations of terms used in the industry is unacceptable and summoning Clapper to provide more specific responses without these reinterpretations.
Whether they can bring themselves to do this remains to be seen, but each leak published by the Guardian and other media outlets will cause more and more embarrassment to the US government. Even now, they are having to have diplomatic talks with allies that they have alleged to have been spying on.
Clearly with this information now in the public domain, if agencies are lying to their bosses to hide this kind of activity, then how can we really know what is going on in our governments.
Trust that laws and processes are being followed have really been all that has kept things in line. A clear breach of this trust could be very problematic and as more revelations are disclosed, the further that trust is eroded. Would a change of government fix this? Not necessarily, as the people voted into office are not the ones who have been found out. Changes at the top of the agencies may be the only way forward.
So maybe the original question needs to be amended. Rather than “What is the price of our privacy?” should it be “What is the price on our safety?”