The Disappointing Thing About PRISM…

Is not that US tech companies are alleged to be handing over vast amounts of personal data.

It’s not that the current US administration have made the most of the Patriot Act, brought in by the Bush government to spy on their citizens.

No. The most disappointing thing about this emerging scandal is that it has taken until now to break into the public arena.

Governments have, in times of political or economic struggle, always relied on fear as a way of controlling their people.

The US state has used fear of Al Qaeda, terrorism and economic collapse to justify spying on ordinary people as they go about their daily business.

It astounds me that it’s taken, should the documents reported in the Guardian pertain to be accurate, six years for someone to realise that this is wrong.

Yes, there is a national security argument, and I appreciate that, but there is a line – if ordinary people are having their phone calls recorded, emails read or Facebook statuses logged, that line has been crossed and their liberties have been trampled underfoot.

The question that inevitably now has to be asked, is has this also been happening in Europe? Has the UK government been complicit in handing over data to the US?

There has been much discussion in the UK about the monitoring of communication, dubbed the “Snooper’s Charter“. It would be safe to assume that if the PRISM allegations prove to be true, there would be a greater movement in the UK against this proposed legislation.

As this story develops, I hope, I really do, that it proves to be an exaggeration of a smaller piece of monitoring and that we’ve all over-hyped a very simple situation. My instinct however says otherwise.

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2 thoughts on “The Disappointing Thing About PRISM…

  1. They aren’t having their phone calls recorded. It’s only call metadata (time, location, duration, caller, recipient.) Useful stuff for traffic analysis (and traffic analysis is a v. powerful tool) but about as privacy-invading as having the government read your phone bill.

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