The news that governments are spying on the internet activities of their citizens should not be a surprise. The internet is now the world’s largest data storage area. Servers hold trillions of characters of data.
Query programs can be written to select particular types of data and catalogue it. It is now an essential part of society. The major supermarkets, with their loyalty systems, know more about us than many realise. Using Google and Facebook leaves a data footprint for others to access.
It is perfectly possible that Google and Facebook, etc, do not co-operate with government authorities and allow them access to their servers but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
Just as teenagers sitting in their bedrooms can hack into government agencies, government hackers can also do the same.
The internet’s greatest strength is that anyone anywhere can access data anywhere else if they have permission to get through the relevant protection systems but it also means that these protection systems can be overcome with sophisticated software tools.
Just as illegal cyber attack is a significant threat in the future, government hackers using the same techniques can spy on and even interfere with the data held on their citizens.
Bruce D Skivington
Gairloch, Wester Ross