The whole news about PRISM is pretty depressing – but after thinking through the weekend, I am not as depressed as I was when I first heard it. Sure it is still very evil, but has a few positives as well . The evil part is pretty obvious , so I am just calling out the not so evil things that partly balances it out . Who knows, my opinion could still change as I think more .
The most obvious positive is that there is a chance this does help government keep us safer to some degree .Bad guys are bad – but sadly they are not stupid . They already should know that law enforcement is checking emails and phones . A part of me wants to believe that PRISM is just a leak to further deter the bad guys 🙂
Irrespective of political leaning , Government will over reach . Neither Bush nor Obama has any moral superiority that their administration can claim when it comes to privacy invasion. And this is as good a reason as any to stop following either party blindly the next time people vote them to power .
We compromise privacy all the time – by disclosing personal data in social networks , by using loyalty cards , by online commerce and so on . Experts have warned us a million times to be careful – yet not much has changed . If private companies can hold our data and target us – what is the big deal if government does the same ? Or do we trust capitalist companies to do less evil than an elected government ?
If PRISM has to live up to its great expectations – government probably does not have all the tech it needs in house . This means a lot of companies – big and small will make good business creating that tech . And then those technologies will be repurposed for enterprises and consumers – in good and bad ways . Irrespective – this in general should help an advancement of technology and economy in general .
Same with hardware – a lot more disks, flash, DRAM etc need to be produced to keep up with the big data that the government needs . That is good for the semiconductor industry in general , and should further increase affordability and quality of HW for the rest of us .
Even with all of these , the evil is not nearly balanced by positives. and it could get a lot worse . Aggregation of data is generally considered a good thing in enterprise world – for things like 360 degree view of the customer , end to end supply chain visibility etc . The limiting factor in achieving that goal is that enterprises do not have much access outside their intranets . But if governments can gain access to enterprise servers and get business information – now they can indeed have nearly 360 degree information on everyone . Or god forbid – government could have an API for companies to get some parts of the data from government repositories . It can get even more real evil real soon .
Privacy matters in more ways than most people realize . I don’t know if anything much would change – but the least we can all do is raise awareness so that we keep the damages to a minimum .