Written by Peter Ide-Kostic and Guillermo Garrido-Lestache
Everything you need to know about your IT protection explained in two short videos:
After the accusations by Edward Snowden in 2013 concerning the illicit use of mass surveillance by the US government and its partners worldwide, the LIBE Committee launched an enquiry. This resulted in an EP resolution adopted in Strasbourg on 12 March 2014, at the same time as the first reading of the new regulation on Data Protection. As part of the enquiry, the LIBE Committee asked STOA to conduct a Technology Assessment study on the mass surveillance of EU citizens.
The study on mass surveillance and citizen rights consists of ‘Part 1: Risks, opportunities and mitigation strategies’ and ‘Part 2: Technology foresight, options for longer term security and privacy improvements’. STOA released, as part of the study, a concise list of guidelines on ‘How to protect privacy on the Internet’, covering a range of security solutions for PCs, smartphones or tablets (and for voice, email, chat and video communications).
The first video explains that when using the internet, we are leaving digital traces, composed of metadata, which, when analysed, can reveal who your family, friends and colleagues are, where you have been at a certain point in time, and when you have communicated with whom, for how long and on which device. Credit card use, mobile phone location data and internet addresses can be combined to draw conclusions about you based on the websites you have visited. Intelligence, security, and law-enforcement agencies are intercepting metadata indiscriminately and on a massive scale. The fundamental civil rights and liberties on which democracy is built are threatened by mass surveillance, as individuals can no longer consider themselves free if they are being watched. If you want your privacy to be respected, you should be able to decide who can access your digital traces. The most effective way of evading surveillance is to encrypt your content and anonymise your connection data.
The second video shows that the revelations made by Edward Snowden in 2013 and other reports, have made it increasingly clear that everything we say, watch and do is under constant surveillance. Mass collection of data poses a challenge to the protection of citizen’s privacy and security. One way of protecting privacy on the internet is encryption technology, but it is currently considered difficult to understand and use by the majority of internet users. This should be countered by the EU with appropriate funding. The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) proves to be the next battleground for privacy and security.
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