Big Brother Is Watching

To some, George Orwell’s acclaimed novel, “1984,” was but only a book, but the frightening reality is that Big Brother may very well be watching. Recently in the media, there has been a lot of discussion about the NSA (National Security Agency) monitoring people of the U.S. via the internet. Thanks to hacker extraordinaire Edward Snowden, who was able to hack the NSA and it’s UK counterpart, GCHQ, we are now aware that all the “indecypherable” medical, financial, and personal information we have ever put on the web is now open for exploitation to the government. According to journalists James Ball, Julian Borger, and Glenn Greenwald in a Guardian article, the NSA has “supercomputers to break encryption with ‘brute force'” and both the NSA and GCHQ, “were able to monitor ‘large amounts’ of data flowing through the world’s fibre-optic cables and break its encryption, despite assurances from internet company executives that this data was beyond the reach of government”. This is even more extreme than monitoring an email. Essentially what the two intelligence agencies were doing was taking information that users previously input into some banking website, or medical records and exploiting the data to their will. To me, this is extremely unethical. In a journal by the Harvard Law School,  there are reports that the NSA “had been gathering the metadata of all the phone calls made by Verizon customers since early April 2013”. While monitoring phone calls is still extremely unethical, and I personally don’t support it, however I can see where they are coming from in the anti-terrorism effort. Stealing encrypted data on the other hand is completely unacceptable. If that information were to be stolen somewhere along the process of the NSA taking it (which is shown to be possible with Snowden hacking the NSA) millions of people’s personal information would then be accessible for the whole hacking, and black market communities.



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