Data from a person, address, ID card or even their movements are easy to track. Phone operators and handset manufacturers have comprehensive information about us. Can they use it?
Under the umbrella of national security, the U.S. Government had a free hand to access the accounts of millions of users worldwide. Justified as a preventive, the spy scandal has reopened the debate on data protection. This case has received its legitimacy from the equally controversial U.S. law FISA ( Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ), which allows warrantless spying.
The National Security Agency (NSA acronym) U.S. collected daily phone call records of millions of customers phone operator Verizon , under a secret court order. This fact has been demonstrated, for the first time, that under the administration of President Barack Obama , have made communications records of millions of U.S. citizens indiscriminately without regard to whether the callers have committed a crime. Following this scandal, Obama has said that declassified part of the Prism program employing their intelligence services, with the aim of improving transparency and reassure the public.
With the law in hand, the general rule in Spain is that we request permission to treat our data. According to the Organic Law on Data Protection is a legitimate action recording whenever conversation to protect a personal right (Article 7), as a trial in court proceedings. The telephone operator could know where you are a subscriber in relation to the area covered by a base station, a subscriber with full name, address, ID number and the email account. It would be a fact that could not provide anyone unless the subscriber show his consent. The only exception would be for a service emergency call.
Telecom companies, technology companies and internet services have become an extremely detailed container of many people, whose habits in recent years have changed considerably and are not aware of digital strip that can suffer. Quiet or not, the fact is that citizens are in constant exposure of sensitive data that, if you think for a moment, would like to play the game of ostrich and bury your head.
“Microsoft and Apple know much, but Google knows everything. The operators [telephone] know infinitely less, the operator can find a specific IP address, but you can tell by the intervention of a judge, but is less sensitive information, “explained to this newspaper Alejandro Suárez , entrepreneur and author of the book ” Stripping to Google. ” The operator is able to “know” the time in which a subscriber is connected, but will not “keeping our habits history” as opposed to a social network like Facebook, which has more than 1,100 million users worldwide .
Experts question the surveillance program considering that it could go beyond mere consultation of data to prevent crime. “Who guarantees that they will only look at issues of terrorism? To what extent that information is being used for surveillance of terrorism and not to find something relevant to public issues? “He asks.
National security has prevailed over data privacy in this controversial project. Many users would not mind being spied on because, overall, they have nothing to hide. Just how is made in our country, privacy is a fundamental right. Are we aware of what we share without knowing it? “The mere fact of carrying a device and leaves a trail, which at least is the geographical location”, says Victor Salgado , a lawyer specializing in Internet privacy firm’s Pintos & Salgado .
Through the Android operating system, found on devices like Samsung or HTC , Internet giant Google is able to gather a huge amount of data from a particular user, in real time, anywhere. “We must be aware that these services have security issues and these companies are subject to different laws from ours, which is less protective of privacy. These are located in the U.S. where no regulated privacy therefore be important abuse “notes. “There is no protection of a fundamental right such as privacy with the same strength that we have in Europe . There [by the U.S.] is subordinate to other rights, would be a lower level such as national security, “acknowledges this attorney.
By law, our governments force companies to keep records of all calls and Internet services, as well as its activity. “What we are hearing, that happens. What we can worry about is what uses of these data are given, “says Paul Teijeira , CEO of Sophos Iberia , Internet security consultant.
In its strategy to distance the Prism, the big Internet companies have been revealing the data that was requested by the U.S. government and have tried to show that completely unaware of this program. “The police authorities-including Spain-demand data daily phone companies and social networks, but doing so by a judge, does not worry me, the problem is that they do not ask me,” she says. The question is “where is the limit?”, “how far can get prevention? “For prevention you can hear all the calls and see all the mails, but not ethically right,” he stresses.
Daniel Martin is a very experienced author who writes quality articles on Technology. He contributes regularly for the website Technocrates.org