The government, particularly intelligence agencies, is being perceived as a corrupt force as information of their doings enters the public domain, albeit illegally. In light of these gloomy revelations as revealed by the now runaway Edward Snowden, the public has become increasingly more skeptical of our nation’s government — an organization designed to aid residents of the nation. This poses the question: what does this mean for the ordinary citizen?
The NSA Ant Catalog is a dossier showcasing the products used by the NSA, along with products that are currently being developed. The documents range from cheap exploits to bypass certain firewalls (HALLUXWATER) to $40,000 devices that can fool your GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) devices (CANDYGRAM), which is primarily used in Europe, but is still quite popular here in the states. After reading some quick articles about these leaks and the sheer magnitude of data that the NSA collects it is almost second nature to identify the NSA as a sort of corrupt entity that is seeking to do public harm, yet it is quite the contrary, as these agencies are only seeking to ensure the security of the ordinary citizen.
It is the job of these agencies to develop cutting edge technology to protect its citizens from foreign and domestic threats. The NSA isn’t a malicious entity, but that isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its fair share of malicious members. It is vital to remember that when these articles utilize hyperbole and scare tactics to intrigue the reader it simply for commercial gain. Although a citizen may have a GSM phone, that doesn’t mean they are being watched. Malicious persons have these phones, firewalls, etc. as well.
This isn’t meant to undermine the threat of a national panopticon in the works, instead it is to stray from the path of shouting “Government corruption!” It is important that people check the government when there is an abuse of power, but by leaking classified information that jeopardizes national security it becomes pure criminal. When most were confronted with the question of privacy versus security they chose security, so have people become a more privacy oriented society?
Society has experienced a sort of paradigm shift when it comes to privacy and its worth. A common folly is to tell a person that privacy is only necessary for the criminals and that the typical citizen has no need for privacy from the government. This is completely wrong as it assumes guilt before innocence and goes against the line innocent until proven guilty. However, there are times where privacy must be breached in order to secure those around you and an individual cannot put their privacy over the security of fellow Americans. And it is under these circumstances that agencies such as the NSA must develop tools to intercept communications and prevent harm to others.