The United States whistle blower Edward Snowden’s revelation has raised the cyber security issues and challenges to privacy which the world is facing today.
For the past 6 to 7 years, United states intelligence agencies has been collecting and analyzing huge amount of data available in the cyber space. The National security agency’s PRISM monitoring programme has collected information from the cyber space by monitoring the cyber activities in popular social media sites and important search engines like Facebook, Google etc.The NSA has collected meta data information, which is data about data. This means the information about say conversation of personalities like how long, with whom, location where conversation took place etc.The NSA analyses these meta data information to arrive at important inferences on security matters.
This PRISM programme has become controversial after the exposure of Edward Snowden. This had also raised important questions on the challenges to privacy of the individual in the cyber space. Should the information on individuals be tracked in the cyber space infringing the Privacy for security reasons? The cyber space thus poses significant dilemmas to policy makers, service providers and individuals alike.
The natural environment is fastly getting transformed to cyber environment. Today more information is being stored and transmitted through cyber space. The people save and sent important information on emails which are transmitted and stored in servers and database accessible to the service providers. To what extent privacy and secrecy of these data and other important information is ensured.This poses significant cyber security issues and challenges.
The Edward Snowden episode has become a major embarrassment for the US government who has charged him with treason. At the same time, people have come in support for him from across the globe for showing courage in exposing a practice which threatens every ones privacy. The US activity is alleged by human rights activist as antidemocratic and infringes on rights and civil liberties on citizens.
On the other hand, today terrorist and other anti national elements operate in the cyber world. They attempt to hijack important government websites like defence, economic to secure important information on national security. The internet is today used as a potent tool by anti national elements for propaganda purposes. The monitoring of cyber activities will strengthen the intelligence gathering capability of countries to counter any threats to national security. But how can that be done without infringing the civil liberties of citizens.
The present nature of cyber technology is such that any activity undertaken in the cyber world would always leave a ‘track’ behind. It is but obvious that technologically superior state or even an individual have an edge over the rest. The absence of a globally accepted cyber regime and legal structure adds further to the commotion. The excessive dependence on cyber tools has given rise to various vulnerabilities established a major defence infrastructure to defend against foreign hackers and spies. However, since the nature of the threat is extremely dynamic it may not be possible to build any foolproof defensive mechanism. The nature and complexity of technology and virtuality presents a challenging task to get hold of the actual offender.
A globally acceptable cyber regime to bring in a set of rules, build transparency and reduce vulnerabilities is the need of the hour.
With Communication using social networking tools swiftly becoming a new way of life to the people, the media and security poses a much more complex issue than what it has been in the past. We need to accept the reality that we would be monitored closely in the future against our interests.