PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Diane Moalem
 
Comments: 3
Article views: 334
 
 
 

Big Brother Bullies Online Privacy

11 June 2014, 21:00

Last year, Edward Snowden released top secret NSA documents to the world about US and UK surveillance. Ever since then, shocking revelations of spying by international governments spill out more frequently than anyone would like.

Vodafone’s revelations added another dimension to show no one can avoid Big Brother’s prying ears, neither online or on your phone. With Big Brother’s ever watchful gaze, is there such thing is true privacy within this surveillance ridden world?

The very notion of Internet privacy refers to Personal Identifying Information (PII) like your name and address or non-Personally Identifying Information (non-PII), which is your behaviour on a website. Whether you can maintain both these types of privacy hangs in the balance.

Vodafone’s latest revelations show us how easy it is for governments to obtain phone information as some countries do not require the network operator’s permission to access the data. The network giant spans across 29 countries and over three continents. Vodafone’s report issued last week said "In those countries, Vodafone will not receive any form of demand for lawful interception access as the relevant agencies and authorities already have permanent access to customer communications via their own direct link."

The citizen’s right to privacy is cast aside, not by the network itself but by the government agency. You have to question the citizen’s fundamental right to privacy when a government body can obtain private data without legal means such as a subpoena.

Snowden caused the world to revolt at the concept that their government and foreign governments could spy on their Internet habits, phone calls, and all electronic network use. Yet, as Mike Silber, a telecommunications specialist lawyer told Mail & Guardian in 2013, South Africans suffer this fate every day. Apparently once we go through the legally required RICA process (Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision), our information can be monitored through big data.

This is non-PII information, namely, what phone numbers you called, when you called that number, and the duration of your conversation. Although obtaining this data should be bound by court ordered subpoena, Silber says this is not always the case. This was substantiated in a 2008 ministerial review on intelligence where Silber said that democratic principles were appallingly disregarded by South African intelligence services.

The latest revelations revealed by Vodafone showing the wide extent of Big Brother’s surveillance of citizens across the network’s international reach reveal less about government spying and more about vulnerabilities open to hackers. If the government is able to get their hands on your private information, hackers, who often use malware, will be able to obtain it just as easily.

The best rule of thumb, according to TechCentral’s interview with Dominic White, the chief technology officer at an information security firm, SensePost, is that if you don’t want your private information available to anyone online, don’t put it online in the first place. He further warns against what Edward Snowden revealed to be ”dragnet surveillance” where the content of emails, text messages, credit records, phone calls, and webcam recordings were collected en masse by government bodies such as the NSA.

In an age where we as a society share so much online, our governments spy on what we say, where we say it and how we say it, is there still such a thing as “privacy”? The notion of anonymity and the right to keep your own business to yourself dangles at the very edge of a dangerous precipice.

Yet, can you really escape Big Brother without becoming a technological recluse? At this point, the average citizen holds little to no power against government organizations and hackers, the only thing one can do is use as many encryption tools as possible to combat this surveillance assault.

You can take proactive steps to protect your information from hackers including basic things such as being more careful where you submit private and personal information. Always make sure your social media and other site accounts have strict privacy settings.

Especially take note of the sites where you enter private information such as your address and credit card information. If you think that a website may be unsecured, contact the admin on the page or leave the website. You can use fantastic online anonymity tools like Tor, which boasts over 120 million downloads since Snowden revealed the true nature of electronic network privacy. Encryption tools are becoming increasingly available but it is imperative that you be weary with what you share online.

©Diane Moalem

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
John Murphy
Rugby

The despised English introduced Rugby in 1858 and it became so popular that in 1902 there was a temporary ceasefire in the Second Boer War so that a game could be played between British and Boer forces. Read more...

0 comments 31 views
Submitted by
NomfundoMlaba
Dark side of a rainbow nation

As a privileged born free of South Africa, I am deeply agonised to see how much we as the privileged youth don’t appreciate the simple things in life. Read more...

3 comments 738 views
Submitted by
Matjila Alejandro
Amplats’ cowardice should not be ...

I urge the powers-that-be to hurry and table legislation that would make what Amplats is doing illegal soon and to force other players to respect the workers’ right to strike and to fair bargaining. Read more...

7 comments 97 views
Submitted by
Reflect 014
Treachery part 4 - Ideology – the...

The author of pawns asserts that whichever side wins out, the internationalists of either persuasion will call for a world government as the only solution to handling humanities problems. Read more...

2 comments 26 views
Submitted by
Terence Wessels
It's hard not to give up!

I cry for my country, she is dying in front of us, and we are all powerless to stop her murderer. Read more...

8 comments 213 views
Submitted by
Bolsheviks Partysa
Government's proposed retirement ...

Members to the pension fund should remain in control of the funds and treasury and or government should allow members to withdraw the funds as and when they wish to do so. Read more...

6 comments 329 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.