Internet freedom, privacy protection conversations heat up
A variety of new trends in consumer and corporate technology have led to increasingly challenging questions related to Internet freedom and privacy protection. The federal government in the United States, as well as several of foreign nations, have worked to increase the stringency of data security, though few have really started to make an impact when it comes to consumer and business privacy.
Big names join the fight
Now, the private sector has started to demand more transparency when it comes to Internet freedom, including some of the biggest tech firms in the world. A coalition led by Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo have joined together to demand that the National Security Agency, as well as other U.S. government entities, allow them to disclose reports to users regarding any requests for information.
As of now, these companies, as well as virtually any other in the telecommunications sector, are not allowed to publish reports that include statistics related to requests for private information, and this has sent shock waves through the general population and nations abroad. SF Gate reported that the technology firms, along with privacy groups, Internet freedom advocates and trade organizations, simply want more transparency to avoid financial losses.
The implications of such new transparency efforts are vast, though history would lead many to believe that nothing dramatic will occur in the wake of these demands. For more than a decade now, the government has leveraged national security as a reason to put up a broader, and more imposing net over the Internet, saying that these policies will protect the American population from terrorist threats.
This is why the NSA called the program PRISM, and set up such a massive data center in Bluffdale, Utah. Or, this is at least the tool used by the NSA and federal officials to validate such massive surveillance efforts and violations of privacy protection. SF Gate added that disclosure policies among these tech firms have come under fire in recent years, while some would say that executives gave into the government requests too easily.
Regardless, though, any effort to strengthen Internet freedom is welcomed at this point, and the coalition has other big names such as Demand Progress, the ACLU, American Library Association, Human Rights Watch and many more who will likely fight for the voiceless.
What about worker privacy?
New America Media recently reported that more advocacy groups are beginning to fight for worker privacy rights in light of Internet freedom discussions. According to the news provider, employees today are extremely active on social media and other web-based communications platforms, and this has opened the gates for employers to track behaviors.
While it might seem perfectly reasonable for an employer to look at an applicant's Facebook page and make decisions according to the posts therein, is this really a justified pursuit? This argument ties directly into Internet freedom discussions because both illustrate the current transparency and regulatory shortfalls of major corporations and governments alike.
The source noted that the National Labor Relations Board is looking into the finer points of employee privacy rights, and if some changes need to be made in Washington to better protect current and prospective staff members.