Why You Should Worry About Prism

June 26, 2013

PRISM has been a big topic in the news lately, with proponents preaching about how american's with nothing to hide should not be worried about it's massive attack on personal privacy.

But here are a few reaons you should be worried

A popular scenario currently happening frequently is when a person is stopped for a minor traffic infraction such as turning without the use of a blinker. An officer who doesn't like the driver for reasons of race or because the person refused to allow the officer to search their car, can claim he smells pot - even if he doesn't - force the driver out of his car with physical restraint if necessary, search his vehicle and plant drugs. This happens very frequently in today's police state. It's just a way for police to harass a person that they don't like, paying no regard to the fact that they could literally be destroying that person's life with a criminal history.

Take this scenarion to the net and you have any officer in any agency who doesn't like you for any reason. This could be something small like you're his neighbor and he doesn't like that your dog keeps barking or you won't cut your grass, or it could be something large like you are a political oponnent. The political opponent scenario might not be you, but it might be someone that you need to get elected to protect you and your rights. Now that they have access to all your digital information, how hard is it to plant information in there? They can forge an email that makes a person look like they are involved in criminal activity, or in the case of a political opponent could even just make the claim. It would not need to be verified in court, so long as it is spread to the media who will have no way of verifying whether or not the data is authentic.

Another scnerio is a true story that has already happened without the PRISM program, but would make this problem more widespread. A man was charged with downloading child pornography from his home computer. They searched his computer and found nothing but were still able to get a conviction based on information that the data was transmitted to his house. But what really happened and the reason it was able to be overturned on appeal is that a neighbor was able to get into his wireless network and download the child pornography, but the prosecuting agencies didn't care WHERE it went, all they cared was that they set up this elaborate mouse trap and they wanted their conviction.

This could be you, and someone tampering with your wireless network could be doing something illegal that doesn't even involve an FBI mousetrap because ALL traffic is being monitored which means that ANYTHING this person is doing is being watched. If you think you are safe from this because your wireless network is secure, forget it. Unless you have a high end wireless router that uses two way certificate trust systems, your network can be hacked within minutes. If you're not sure, ask yourself if you installed a public certificate key from each of your connecting devices to your wireless router. If the answer is no, then your wireless router is protected only with a password which can be obtained by a hacker setting up an identical router to yours with an interfering signal. When your computer tries to connect to the wireless checkpoint, it sends your password to the hackers fake accesspoint. He then shuts down his access point and your computer connects back to your wireless access point without you even knowing things changed, and the hacker then logs into your wirless access point with your password. It works the same with MAC address filtering if you think you're safer because you turned that on.

Now if you think you are safe because they have bigger fish to catch, think again. Look at the number of unsolved robberies and murders in this country, and compare that to the number of traffic citations issued. Now that there is a means in place, it's not too farfetched that the authorities will use this system to start issuing small citations and fines for small crimes like illegally downloading MP3s, because they will be small charges that, like traffic citations, people will pay rather than dispute. Evidence that this might be in the future is that they are already trying to get an internet tax. And what are traffice tickets if not extra driving taxes?

In the grand scheme of things, what they are building is a system to control information, and in turn control the people. Of course they aren't going to come out and say what they are going to be able to do with this, or where they want to go with it. They might not even know where this system will be 10 years from now. But this is not the direction a free country needs to be heading in.

If you want to believe that this is a necessary evil, consider what happened with the PATRIOT act. It was originally passed to prevent terrorism and give warrantless wiretap authority to federal agencies to prevent terrorism. It was intented, according to it's author, only to be used on targeted and suspected terrorists. We were assured many times that it would not be used to listen in on calls from non-suspect american citizens. It turns out later that this was not true, and just by giving them this power an trusting them not to abuse it, we created the power for them to abuse it further down the road. By allowing the PRISM project to continue, it might not be abused today, but it will certainly be abused in the future.


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