Edward Snowden is now a pawn in a couple of games much bigger than himself. After the NSA incident, he fled to Hong Kong and provided information about US Intelligence operations to the Chinese press. He then moved on to Russia where he has been granted temporary asylum. Neither of these countries is a friend of the United States, and we don't really know what he may have given or what they may have taken. We will see how much Mr. Snowden likes Russian hospitality once Putin decides he is no longer a useful tool. If we ever get our hands on him, he will join Manning at Leavenworth making little rocks out of big ones.
Last week President Obama spoke about the NSA and some of the programs which were revealed in documents Snowden leaked. Whatever your opinion of Snowden, it is likely you were surprised at the amount of scrutiny every online action garners. The one true growth industry appears to be the selling of storage capacity to the NSA. The President promised to do "a little less of this and a bit more watching the watchers.” (http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2014/01/17/263480199/transcript-of-president-obamas-speech-on-nsa-reforms) But, it wasn't just the secret squirrel folks putting listening devices in your cornflakes. They had some very willing, or at least very accommodating, helpers in the major internet service companies.
The collaboration is an eye opener about just how secure your online actions really are. The back doors, side doors and, in some cases, front doors which the internet titans left open for the NSA, often on purpose, should prompt some important questions. Like “Can we have any expectation of privacy anymore?” However, since I work in this industry, I know full well that the reason the big email providers offer a service free of charge, is because you become their product by signing up and signing away your privacy. You did read the agreement, didn't you? You know, the one that says they reserve the right to crawl all over every single letter of every message (attachments included), follow every search, and then sell YOUR DATA to anyone they feel like.
You don't have to get into the politics or the national security questions to wonder why your web world is so full of window peepers. That's just the way it is today, but some things should and can surely change.