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Nsa Leaks Could Inspire a Global Boom in Intrusive Surveillance


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Credit: Technology Review

The recent leaks of U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs could inspire governments and security services in developing economies, according to a recent University of Toronto Citizen Lab report. The report warns that governments that already impose authoritarian controls on the Internet, such as China, India, and Saudi Arabia, may try to boost those efforts with NSA-style bulk collection programs.

"No doubt one implication of Snowden's revelations will be the spurring on of numerous national efforts to regain control of information infrastructures through national competitors to Google, Verizon, and other companies implicated, not to mention the development of national signals intelligence programs that attempt to duplicate the U.S. model," says Citizen Lab director Ron Deibert. He notes that India, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates already have insisted that BlackBerry add interception technology to its services, and recommends restricting U.S. agencies to requesting specific, limited information about certain accounts on a case-by-case basis, rather than harvesting bulk data for later processing.

"Many countries of the global South lack even basic safeguards and accountability mechanisms around the operations of security services, and their demands on the private sector could contribute to serious human rights violations and other forms of repression," Deibert says.

From Technology Review
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