When former CIA employee Edward Snowden blew the lid on the extent of digital surveillance by western governments two years ago, it sparked a fierce debate about the rights of citizens to privacy versus the duty of governments to protect against the threat of global terror. Having been exposed as colluding with these surveillance programmes, communications companies have recently sought to distance themselves from state monitoring and new technologies are emerging designed to give consumers the option of greater privacy. In this week’s Newshour Extra, Owen Bennett and his guests discuss whether Snowden’s revelations have been a gift to terrorists or whether personal freedoms have been rescued from the grip of Big Brother.
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Recent revelations about the extent of NSA surveillance have put even the standards by which encryption systems are designed into question. Encryption experts Matthew Green, Phillip Zimmerman, and Martin Hellman discuss what makes a code secure and the limits of privacy in the modern age.
Here’s a podcast of my last Guardian column, Censorship is inseparable from surveillance:
There was a time when you could censor without spying. When Britain banned the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses in the 1920s and 1930s, the ban took the form on a prohibition on the sale of copies of the books. Theoretically, this entailed opening some imported parcels, and it certainly imposed a constraint on publishers and booksellers. It was undoubtedly awful. But we’ve got it worse today.
Jump forward 80 years. Imagine that you want to ban www.jamesjoycesulysses.com due to a copyright claim from the Joyce estate. Thanks to the Digital Economy Act and the provision it makes for a national British copyright firewall, we’re headed for a system where entertainment companies can specify URLs that have "infringing" websites, and a national censorwall will block everyone in the country from visiting those sites.
In order to stop you from visiting www.jamesjoycesulysses.com, the national censorwall must intercept all your outgoing internet requests and examine them to determine whether they are for the banned website. That’s the difference between the old days of censorship and our new digital censorship world. Today, censorship is inseparable from surveillance.
Huffduffed from http://craphound.com/?p=3921