In recent years, we’ve seen computing power shifting to the cloud. However, with the activities of the PRISM program brought to light, there is a concern as to what impact it has had on commercial cloud computing services. According to a survey conducted by the Cloud Security Alliance, it is estimated that 56% of people outside of the US are now less likely to use US-based cloud providers. 10% cancelled their contracts with US-based cloud providers altogether.
Companies have geared towards consumer privacy in an attempt to placate security concerns of a post-Snowden public. We’ve seen growing popularity of search engines like DuckDuckGo geared toward anonymous browsing that advertises the fact that it does not track you across the internet. Mobile operating systems such as iOS8 and various Android iterations institute a ‘zero knowledge’ encryption policy that makes it impossible for the company to comply with disclosure orders, since only the end user is able to unlock the information.
Snowden’s actions have sparked a public debate over the subject of data privacy worldwide. In the UK, we’re seeing much discussion over the controversial new surveillance law dubbed the “snooper’s charter”. It is a bill that is believed to write into law a huge invasion of privacy whereby the government can collect internet browsing data on a user. Contrastingly, Home Secretary Theresa May insists that critics have blown the capabilities of the new law out of proportion, citing that it is simply a modern equivalent of an itemised phone bill.
Naturally, we all want perfect privacy and perfect safety, but those two things cannot coexist. We live in a world where the government can analyse your personal data, legally.
However you see him, hero or traitor, the fact is that the only reason why there is a debate over privacy concerns at all is down to the actions of one, Edward Snowden.
Nobody has time to read through a circa 20,000-word document of capitalised text each time a company updates its policy. Signing a mortgage agreement requires less paperwork, it begs a profound and somewhat troubling question:
What if privacy policies were not so much about protecting privacy at all, but instead relinquishing it?