Edward Snowden five years after incredible leaks

Before five years Edward Snowden gave journalists a mini database containing around ten thousand highly classified documents. The top secret contents revealed the scope and scale of the massive surveillance of the US government and its allies.

So the world learned for the first time that the National Security Agency (NSA), in addition to the massive collection of telephone metadata from millions of Americans, had installed backdoors in internet cables, constantly deployed tools, and was trying to break every encryption we use to secure our data.

Then, Silicon was also accused for purposeful participation in the PRISM data collection program. And the revelations from Edward Snowden didn't stop.Edward Snowden

The journalists published incredible stories that highlighted government abuse and immoral invasions, which, according to Snowden, were the smallest of the NSA database in Hawaii.

Five years later, no significant progress has been made. In addition to a law that does not reduce the number of domestic phone records by Americans, the government continues to oversee foreigners (and Americans) under the same legal framework as before the leaks, as US lawmakers have returned most of the government's powers in surveillance without much talk. We are back to the point that an executive order that "catches them all" gives the US government unlimited powers to collect data.

As for the technology companies of Silicon Valley, who wanted to regain the trust of their users after the publication of the leaks, we could say that not much has changed overall…

Of course not to be unfair, some things have changed for the better. Today, we have end-to-end encryption on almost all of our devices.

After the revelation that the NSA had reached the private fiber optic cables that connected Yahoo and its data centers , οι εταιρείες άρχισαν να κρυπτογραφούν τα πάντα. Ακόμα και οι εταιρείες που δεν είχαν αναφερθεί στη συγκεκριμένη , like Microsoft, have begun proactively encrypting their cables in an effort to close the doors to spies.

Encryption forced the NSA and its allies to hit the front doors of the companies by holding warrants instead of trying to install backdoors.

Google, Twitter, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo have started publishing transparency reports stating how many handed over to the secret services. Today transparency reports have been adopted by almost all companies and although they are not perfect, they offer an idea in the foreground of the legal requirements that target user data.

Of course, what hasn't changed at all is the way private industry manages their users' data. The companies they continue to collect data very aggressively to serve ads and serve third-party interests. Many companies are largely unregulated since they are only marginally regulated by law, which gives them unlimited space to manage our personal data.
Private espionage, data collection, the creation of a profile for voters and buyers of products is attributable, and legislators have not reacted to date.

From all of the above we can say that the leaks of Edward Snowden did not save us but caused a cultural shift. We are trying to control our personal information more. Leaks were also the catalyst that technology companies needed to add more encryption.

However, say irony (or capitalism), even if technology companies have tried to cut off the secret services from our data, they continue to collect them with undiminished interest. So the next showdown will probably be with Silicon Valley.


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Written by giorgos

George still wonders what he's doing here ...

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