The Internet and the cyber world are ever evolving, and their path has been undertaken, in part at least, from Ed Snowden’s revelations.
In the United States, in particular, many citizens are faced with a dilemma: did the member of America’s most secretive security organization just hurt us, the people, by exposing things that are necessary to make us safe; or did this whistleblower just expose myriad human rights, digital rights and acts violations that their coming to light has made the world and all of its people, including US citizens far safer.
Answering this may be difficult, but the debate must be raised.
Internet security companies, anti-virus software outfits (AVAST was a great, free program for personal use on PC and Mac until they got caught becoming spyware, but Sophos seems to be pretty good to use instead and AVIRA is a Tom's Guides Top Free Antivirus for Mac), and media forces like Google and Facebook have never been so busy adding security.
As an author for various news outlets, experience largely stems from writing for an entire lifetime and nothing more. Many extraordinary things have been witnessed over a short life and numerous terrible things as well.
For the fiction novel, Cyberwar, years of research was undertaken into cyber security, political demonstrations across the world, cyber warfare, hactivism (involving hackers and associations like Anonymous), and emerging technologies in the fields of robotics and virtual computing (DARPA is a large source).
Without being an authority on any of these subjects, certain research, interpretations, and perspectives of the cyber world at large can be useful to you, the reader, as you traverse the ever laden technology revolution currently shaping our earth.
And safety for yourself, whether in the public eye or online is truly of ever-increasing importance.
An immediate perspective is that the debate may go on for decades, but the Internet is a thousand times safer now than it was before Mr. Snowden went public.
This seems so strong a point that it is undeniable.
The amount of articles, books like Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, informationals, infographics, and videos on the subjects of encryption, cyber security – from avoiding identify theft to eliminating advertisers, organizations, and governments from stalking your every breath – and privacy has been increased exponentially.
More people are researching how to be safe in a digital world.
For anyone in the media in particular, or all the folks that are just curious about digital rights, Freedom Of The Press Foundation notes many great resources to help individuals keep their online safety and privacy, including the following guides:
Guides & Training | Start protecting your security and privacy in the age of mass surveillance with how-to guides and resources. [https://freedom.press/training/]
One basic Google Search yields a bevy of useful articles on how to protect one’s self from having your bank, credit card, or personal information stolen or abused:
- NSA surveillance: A guide to staying secure - The Guardian
- Internet security: 10 ways to keep your personal data safe...
- Encryption Works: How to Protect Your Privacy in the Age of ...
- How Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Facebook Are Creating a Safer Internet
In this latest Ed Snowden interview with WIRED, there is audio that is filled truly enlightening words as to his motives:
My name is Ed Snowden. I used to work for the government and now I work for the public. [He went on to say]...technology is the greatest equalizer in human history...governments around the world are questioning whether or not we can be trusted with technology...what I do know is governments shouldn't be the ones to decide. [He concludes with] what I did...the reason I did it was to give you a choice about the country you want to live in.
The simple advance of bigger Yahoo-type companies to implement HTTPS security onto web access, after years of resistance, is huge as it makes viewing emails or sites for the average surfer infinitely safer.
Ed Snowden gave the push that the corporate powers needed to adhere to the public outcry for safety.
Without the whistle being blown, the cyber criminals and black hats that seize valuable information and assets to make a living (often in countries with struggling economies) could have easily ensnared millions of more people.
Though the cyber world is still rife with malicious people, programs, organizations, and criminals, Ed Snowden brought the need for securing yourself from everything home to the world.
And for this, we are so much safer.
By R.J. Huneke
This article was originally published for Examiner.com here: http://www.examiner.com/article/love-him-or-hate-him-edward-snowden-influences-the-cyber-world-every-day