(Ed Stanley) Speaking at a recent festival, former CIA director Michael Hayden touched on a number of privacy-related issues. He discussed security, Edward Snowden, Facebook, and more; warning that Facebook might pose a greater threat to privacy than any government agency like the NSA or CIA. Hayden also called out British citizens for being far “more tolerant” of aggressive spying than Americans.
Hayden himself is one of the individuals who has joked about wanting Edward Snowden dead (on a kill list), for his decision to share with the American public the extent to which their own government was spying on them. Hayden says that the material Snowden revealed has sparked a “necessary conversation” about privacy around the world. But he still thinks that the spying revelations were dangerous and he defends that the spying material was justly collected, even though many legal scholars would argue otherwise. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan previously deemed the spying to be Unconstitutional. Other courts have disagreed.
Most people are still weary about giving a lot of personal and private information to the government, and they see handing over their information as a “traditional threat,” Hayden says, but they have less of a problem openly sharing that information on a platform like Facebook. The social media site is a convenient way to get the information without using force, people post their information willingly.
The concept of privacy has truly evolved from the traditional standards one used to be accustomed to. Technology has enabled agencies like the NSA to be able to harvest unimaginable amounts of personal data that previously would’ve taken a warrant (a reason) before obtaining. And this data doesn’t just have the potential to be used by the NSA. Hayden spoke in New York recently about the possibility of the FBI and other police agencies using the collected NSA data in their work, and the option about permitting them to sift through that data before obtaining a proper warrant allowing them to do so.
There are many legal scholars, civil liberties advocates, privacy and security experts, who collectively contend that these programs are not effective and they deny the claim that we need them in order to keep us safe. The NSA has a budget of roughly $10 billion a year and even former NSA employees themselves, like tech director Bill Binney, have judged the programs to be unnecessary. And he cautioned citizens that they should continue to voice their concerns with their representatives if they want anything to be done about it.