My Opinion On: PRISM

It's been two months since Edward Snowden gave information to The Guardian. Let's recap what has happened since then:

To be honest, it's not much. While most people now know they're being spied on they don't really seem to care.
Some say "I've got nothing to hide" or that we have to stop terrorism, but all we know is that this is not going to end the whole thing.
But what we also know is that it's not just the Americans who do it, it seems that everybody is doing it.
The British do it, the French do it, ..., and in Afghanistan there's also something called "Prism".

Apart from that, most governments have started their "research" about what's really happening, because, as they say, they didn't know what was going on before.
But it's getting quieter and quieter. It seems most people have already forgot it and the governments don't really want to do something because it would stop their own plans, who knows.

The plan seems to be the same all over the world. More and more surveillance for our own security.
But security isn't free, security has a price and the question is whether we're willing to pay it.

First I think it's important to understand how surveillance won't help you to uncover any terrorists.
Wiretapping millions of connections means having millions of pieces of data. No human being will be able to go through that amount of data and filter it, so we have to make machines doing it and they just look for keywords.
Also computers won't be able to make an educated guess if person #457297372 is suspicious or not.

But which people do get into the filter after all? As far as we know it's you and me, the people who use Twitter, Facebook, various Google services, send unencrypted emails and store their data in the cloud. It's very very easy for intelligence agencies to wiretap our connections because we don't use an end-to-end encryption and store our data in the data centers of huge companies. There's always one point where every packet of data goes thru and that's where they intercept the connection.

But if we want to uncover terrorists, the question is, what do terrorists do?
I'll tell you, they won't do all that. I haven't seen a single terrorist who tweets: "Yay! Bomb is placed. Visit me on 42 2nd St.". Why? Well, you can get it by yourself.
Terrorists also don't write unencrypted emails and they don't download their bomb cooking guides without using at least 3 VPN servers. If they use forums at all they won't publish on Such forums won't be online on the same IP longer than a few days.

What I want to say is: Terrorists know how to hide themselves. If they don't, they won't be a threat anyway ;)

So let's see:
No Twitter, no Facebook, no social stuff -> all these black boxes the NSA stored in big data centers are useless
Encrypted emails -> the same, because if they use Gmail, an encrypted email is useless to intelligence agencies if they cannot decrypt it.
Anonymized internet connection -> data preservation is useless, because the only thing they'll see is an encrypted connection to server So they don't know what data has been transferred nor do they know where the data has eventually arrived.
Forums which don't live long -> until they have found the server on which the forum was running, everything is deleted already.

So you see, most of what intelligence agencies do, won't help us at all. The only ones who are being watched are the innocent.
Another fact that proves me right is that since they started the whole stuff in the 90's they didn't detect a single attack. They didn't stop 9/11, the Boston marathon bombing, the London bombings, or Breivik just to name a few.

Also why do they have to meet in secrecy? We should make all of our actions public while they classify everything.
Why can't they be open too? Do they have something to hide?!

But if they don't stop any terrorist, why are they doing what they are doing then? Isn't it wasted money?
This is a good question. I don't really know why they're doing what they're doing. Nobody except for themselves really knows, but maybe the target was to watch us. Maybe the terrorists only were a pretence.

Also we have to understand that the chance to die in a terroristic attack is almost zero.
In Switzerland e.g. the last attack was in the 70's and killed about 250 people. Of course that's 250 people too much but if we have a look at how many people have died in traffic since then the difference is just immense.
Why do we spend such big amounts of money on stopping terrorism then and not in making cars more secure, for example.
And the point is that these huge amounts don't even have a guaranteed effect. It's just something they're trying to do. Maybe it helps, maybe it does not.

So we have to take a look on why they could want to spy on us.
I don't have any idea to be honest. Now it's your turn! Make your own thoughts!

The only thing that comes into my mind is a bit conspiracy.
They want to increase the amount of surveillance until they know about everyone to finally drop democracy and build a dictatorship all over the world. A New World Order, maybe.
I do not have any proofs for this idea, it's just a mind experiment (which sadly works).

As history shows, every reformer/future dictator increased the amount of surveillance, mostly because the rest of the world was apparently dangerous and they needed to keep the country secure of the evil.
But the truth was that it was needed to keep the people under control. If someone wanted to stand up against the regime, he was publicly shot to make an example.
Surveillance also allows them to block each site on the net that criticizes the system to prevent people from getting stupid thoughts at first.

If you're interested in this subject, I can recommend the books "1984" and "Animal Farm" by George Orwell to you.
They show similar subjects in great detail.

Finally I want to make a note on why surveillance is so dangerous.
It's very simple. You don't see it. People don't notice whether their connection is wiretapped or not.
If you don't notice it, you will not stand up against it.
But what they're really doing is walking into your digital living room. Would you tolerate that in reality?

Some say, why not, if it helps to make me more secure. "I have nothing to hide!"
And this is completely wrong. Just because you think you have nothing to hide today, it doesn't mean it has to stay like this forever.
Law changes and maybe in the future you have something to hide.
"Having nothing to hide" also means that you will have to accept what your governments decide forever.
Standing up against the government might be something you wanna hide in the future, like I stated before.

Because of that it's important to stop them now before it's too late.
After they've passed a certain point of surveillance it won't be possible for us to stop them anymore.

Who knows what the future brings us. We should not ruin our future because of a fear of today.
Let's not decide on fear. Fear is never a good idea to make decisions on. Just make a list of positive effects and one for the negative ones. And decide by the longer one.

"Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."
- Benjamin Franklin

written by: Takashi Yoshi
Tags: opinion