[Re: The tech giants are right: We could be sleepwalking into a surveillance state, yesterday] The author is right to highlight the growing discontent with government surveillance. But it should be noted that possible solutions to concerns over privacy are cropping up in the private sector. Microsoft announced last week that it will follow Yahoo in encrypting information flowing through its data centres. And online anonymity programme Tor reported a 100 per cent spike in usage in August. If more firms follow suit, governments may have to rely on legal channels as opposed to brute technological power to access private information.
Let’s be clear. The problem we face is not really technological. People have been predicting for 10 to 15 years that new technologies would prevent governments from intruding into our lives. The real issue is that governments will do whatever it takes to ensure the mass of people – not the tiny class of technological sophisticates – are subject to surveillance and even censorship. They rely on a sort of mass compliance, with most ordinary people accepting that spy agencies should monitor communications as a matter of course. Until the scales fall from people’s eyes, this will not end and the surveillance state will creep ever closer.
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