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Is Obama Killing the Internet with the NSA Internet Surveillance Policy?

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Of course President Obama cannot kill the internet, however, the bills that he and his administration put in place are surely making users think twice about their online activity. The internet is considered as the last bastion of free speech. It is evident that more and more governments want to suppress the freedom of speech online and are using the internet as a tool to spy on its citizens. Even in America, which is still considered as a proponent of free speech, the recent revelations about the NSA Prism program have shocked and outraged American citizens since it directly contradicts with the American Constitution and democratic values. Read on to discover how the Obama administration may be hurting the internet as we know it by using short sighted surveillance policies.

NSA Prism Program

The NSA Prism surveillance program was green lit in the year 2007. The aim of the program was to strengthen national security and identify terrorist threats against America. While the intentions of the program were indeed noble, the route that it followed to achieve its objectives were downright questionable. Apart from gathering intelligence data about terror suspects, the program also collected internet usage details of millions of innocent Americans. What’s worse, the NSA was able to gather data from companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, AOL, Skype, YouTube and PalTalk which has set the alarm bells ringing since these companies are privy to a vast amount of personal data.

How The Prism Program Affects The Overall Internet Usage?

The NSA Prism program may well have killed the free and open internet as we know it. Since the most trusted internet companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft have failed to protect our data, we cannot expect smaller and less trusted companies to keep our data safe. Moreover, since the Prism program monitors all kinds of online activities like social networking, browsing, VOIP, instant messaging and emailing; henceforth people are always going to be wary about sharing their personal details online.

Even as the Obama administration and the internet companies embroiled in the controversy are trying to defend the surveillance program, the damage has already been done. It doesn’t matter that the NSA is not getting access to actual emails, VOIP calls or social activity; people already know that the security agencies can get hold of these details whenever they want. The trust deficit between the consumers and internet companies has grown a lot wider thanks to the carelessly implemented surveillance measures recommended by the NSA. If people are more guarded and less open on the internet from henceforth, we already know who is responsible for the damage.

What Can Be Done About Defending Online Security?

Since most governments are trying to make online freedom as history, it makes sense to explore measures available for safeguarding online privacy. If you want to escape the surveillance and monitoring measures implemented by the US government, you will need to use an anonymizing service like a virtual private network (VPN) and abandon using US based internet services. Merely using a VPN is not going to be enough since the NSA already has access to servers from most popular web based services. To bypass the NSA surveillance completely, you will have to start using offshore based web enabled services since they are not legally bound to respond to American government requests for disclosing consumer data.

June 14, 2013

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