ICP/BCM206: Blog Post 9: Week 10

This week’s meme brought to you by:

Digital resistance: hacktivists, whistleblowers, #AfterSnowden

In 2013, Edward Snowden released information we all suspected but never confirmed: all of us were being watched.

Our phone calls, our browsing histories, every bit of data was being analysed by the NSA.

It shook the world and the ripples are still bouncing off the borders of every country to this day.

Previously digital activism went largely unnoticed by the masses – hacktivists fought for the freedom of information and protested censorship by mounting DDoS attacks and defacing websites. Occasionally they would bring down major companies, either because they disagreed with their policies – or as a warning to their investors and customers that their data was not as safe as they thought it was.

We’d all had our suspicions that we were being watched but it was mostly shut down as paranoia, or dismissed with a non-chalant “I have nothing to hide” wave of the hand. It divided the US; some believed we had a right to know why they were watching us, to what degree, and not entirely satisfied with the ‘because safety’ response. The others called Snowden – and others such as Julian Assange – traitors to the American people, traitors to humanity for blowing the whistle on top-secret government practices that were to keep us safe.

Just as we were beginning to forget, the Facebook data breach happened. It didn’t matter our privacy settings – everything that we shared, Facebook logged and kept, then sold to the highest bidder. We were being watched all over again – but not for safety – for corporations to profit off of us. It was an outrage.

How long until we forget again?

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