Tag Archives: Privacy

The NSA in Canada

Something I’ve been worrying about more and more lately is where my information is being stored. More specifically in my email accounts and cloud syncing technology.

I say this because I, like so many other people, use free products. Gmail, Google Drive, iCloud and Drop Box are all my friends. Or so I have thought.

The thing that I’ve come to realize (thanks to the job) is that since all those services are based in the US, the information is stored in the US. Therefore all my information is subject to the Patriot Act. All the NSA fun that has been going on south of the boarder; you’re likely affected by it.

My worry isn’t really about what has happened to date. As much as I don’t love my privacy being infringed on, I have to believe that I’m extremely boring to anyone who is looking. I’m not doing anything illegal or questionable, so I’m probably passed by pretty quickly.

What I’m more worried about is what may or may not happen in the future of privacy. Considering the NSA came and went, there hasn’t seemed to be many changes made to policies. Nor promises from the government not to do the same or similar in the future.

What will happen next? Now that we know they are able and willing to access that information, is there a worse-case scenario that anyone can think of?

So just because we’re in Canada doesn’t mean that we can act all smug about the NSA problems to the south. Odds are your information has been inspected too.

Privacy Concerns

Every time there is some report or Wiki Leak or Edward Snowden type that comes out and tells us about how the government is spying on all citizens, I’m always surprised at the outcry. Not at the fact that there is outcry, mind you, but rather the focus.

There is always a clear and loud cry about the government infringing on our privacy, but very little is said about how they are able to do that. Especially when the information the government is gathering is with the help of private companies, more often than not.

I don’t know if it’s thanks to the bias of media, the short attention span of the masses or some other factor, but every time there is a headline about how the NSA gathered more information, no one seems to give much thought to the foot note that it came from Apple, Google, Amazon, Yahoo, etc. While I don’t love that the American government has the ability to read my emails, I really don’t like how easy it seems for the private corporations to fork it over.

Paints a future that’s more Skynet than it is 1984.

To me it comes down to involvement of the commons. Even if it’s biased, skewed and corrupt, at least we the people have some involvement in government once every few years. Not too comforting, but there is something.

Also, the government could plausibly be using the information for security reasons. While it’s sneaky and unsettling, at least it’s an end that most of us can get behind. Even if you don’t support the means.

What I wonder about is what the corporations are gathering the information for, other than for personalized advertising and to give the government. You just know that it wasn’t sitting there unused until the big bad NSA bullied them into giving it up. If the information is being collected, it’s being collected with purpose.

I’m not really into conspiracy theories, nor am I that worried about what is being collected about me, to be honest. I know that I’m not doing anything criminal and can only assume that they have much, MUCH bigger fish to fry. I truly can’t see how my email is interesting to anyone other than me, and even then with some messages labeling me as “interested” is pushing it.

No, I’m more interested in human nature. Why it is that we’re so quick to jump all over our elected officials and give private companies the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps it is because we feel as though the government is accountable to us, while there is no use trying to change the course of corporations.

Or maybe we have actually reached a place in society where we trust public institutions less than what’s behind the curtain at our favourite brands.