(2) Yes we scan
From the second point of West’s essay (2013), we know that there is a program called PRISM. And the government can collect massive amount of data with the help of internet companies. Richards (2013) points out that “surveillance society” exists in modern America in the first part of his article and explore the problem and danger of surveillance, which illustrates West’s second point.
Both West and Richards understand that large-scale surveillance is no longer a patent for autocratic countries, like China, but is the current and real situation in America. While American government still criticize other countries’ human right and cyberattacks, the leak from Snowden made America embarrassed. But the existing surveillance unveil the dilemma for attacking terrorism and protecting citizens. If the surveillance system does not exist, then how to prevent damage from terrorism? If exerting surveillance, then who can control the power and how to protect privacy? I think one mistake that American government make is that the PRISM program is secretly operated without agreement from the people. And the scope is so large that makes us feel scary when thinking how much information the government has controlled.
Except from the government, Richards also mentions how internet can have access to much information easily and the problem of big data. Insurance companies and big companies like Disney all work with the government and make interests from it. This means that in some ways, surveillance can also be used for commercial purposes. Then it will put citizens’ privacy into higher risk if terrorist attack or coerce these companies and steal information from them. Also, gathering information for the companies’ interests is not appropriate.
8) NSA targets China’s largest research hub and major telecommunications provider
From the leak of Snowden, China has also been a major surveillance target. A report from The Washington Post reveals how Chinese government and people react to Snowden’s leak.
Chinese government responded at first with indignation. And then it started to build up plans for cyber defense. The Snowden scandal also stimulated the internet industry in China. Because Chinese government decided to spend more money to support its homeland firms and to get rid of American surveillance.
In China, the surveillance is a public secrete. Everyone knows their information may be used and scanned by the government. But the case is always after crime, the police use the information to track criminals. Most people, as far as I have heard of, will not be bothered by what they search or store on Internet.
After Snowden scandal, Chinese government is more cautious about their classified information and it is also a good time for homeland companies to develop. At the same time, people in China also started to discuss the surveillance problem, which is good for them to know its danger and reflect on government’s behavior.