Today is the day we fight back.
Businesses, organizations, and individuals are banding together today to “fight” back against NSA surveillance. Reminiscent of the SOPA/PIPA protests from a few years ago, this will take place largely on the web, but there will be public events held all over the world. This movement is called…
If you are unaware of the whole NSA scandal/debacle, I will try an explain it as clearly as possible (and wonder under which rock you have been living). Briefly, the NSA (National Security Agency for the U.S.) apparently was collecting data from phone calls, texts, emails, and general internet use of citizens around the world, including Americans. This was all brought to light by Edward Snowden, a NSA employee who is now very much on the run. Snowden, leaked documents and information detailing the government surveillance and data collection. Further documents have come forth, implying they were getting data from technology giants like Verizon, Google, and Yahoo. There have also been whispers of businesses and organizations being tapped for information being held to an NDA (non-disclosure ‘agreement’), effectively disallowing them to speak about any of their dealings with the NSA. The government has yet to truly clear the air, and it is evident that there are differing opinions as to what to do about the leaks as well as how to handle situations like this going forward.
What does this mean for us? Well, it could mean nothing…we still don’t know the amount of data collected or from whom it was collected. Nor do we know who was targeted, if anyone specific. Many believe this is an invasion of privacy. People are, apparently, not too keen on anyone (let alone their own government) possibly getting a view of their text conversations or what sites they visit online. There is, understandably, some moral and ethical outrage. There have been suggestions of a very 1984-esque “Big Brother” operation.
This whole catastrophe has an effect on everyone, though, not just individuals. Libraries could be “asked” to provide personal information about patrons and would have no recourse for refusing. Google may have to turn over e-mail account information for their millions of users. No one knows how far this surveillance has already gone, nor do they know how far it could go if not contained now.
As your friendly blogging librarian, I am not asking you to pick any sides, but i am asking you to be knowledgeable about what this NSA ‘thing’ is all about and the effects it could have on you and the institutions you are a part of.
If you would like to join the ‘fight’, please visit this site to learn how to help.
If you would like to learn more about the leaks, the NSA, and the whole catastrophe in general, please visit these sites: