Whistle-blower Snowden – Hero or Villain?

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You would think that someone revealing that an organisation is acting illegally, immorally or even inefficiently would, if proven to be correct, be applauded and even rewarded. Not so, it seems that they deserve to be vilified, victimised or even arrested for pointing out such shortcomings whether they be inefficiencies in the NHS or abuse of personal information by hackers, even if they are a government department.

Of course this is leading to recent further revelations from Edward Snowden as reported today in Computing following an exclusive video interview with Snowden in The Guardian on July 17th.

ICREACH [a search engine built by NSA in 2007] was designed to be the largest system ever developed for internally sharing intelligence data within the US [20 US Agencies]. However, the data stored [850 billion records about phone conversations, emails and internet messages] within it isn’t limited to US citizens, with information about foreigners’ communications also stored within the system.

In both domestic and foreign cases, the vast majority of individuals who have data about them stored within ICREACH aren’t suspected of committing any crimes whatsoever.

Snowden also argued that cloud storage providers should follow a zero knowledge model of business, where they store and host files uploaded by customers, but don’t have access to the information stored within their service.

“By depriving themselves of the ability to read the information, of the ability to sort-of analyse and manipulate the information without the customers’ consent or authorisation, that’s the only way they can prove to the customers that they can be trusted with their information,” he said.

This is precisely what PAOGA provides.

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