In late 2012 Edward Snowden, a former United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, leaked approximately 200.000 classified documents. The leaked documents show the world the clandestine means used by the NSA and cause a global outrage. Almost one year later a solution to the privacy issues at stake is still absent and even less likely to come up in the near future.
It is hypocrite that up until today so many deny cooperation with or knowledge of the NSA’s operations. An important issue to this regard, which most of the media circus overlooked, is backdoor computer chips.
When a computer chip is backdoored, all information that passes trough the chip is also secretly channeled to a third party. Investigations have proven that Chinese computer chips manufactured for important U.S. government agencies have been tampered with to channel information through the back door, back to China.
However, not only the Chinese are into the backdooring business. The NSA used the same technique on computer chips to be used by foreign governments, international corporations and, surprisingly, consumers like you and me. Your internet activities might well be monitored just now.
The documents leaked by Mr Snowden indicate that the NSA had at least one American company manufacturing backdoor computer chips. It is unimaginable that those involved in the production of such computer chips did not know their company helps the NSA.
Companies have always tried to collect information on customers. Usually while trying to keep the consumer as less informed as possible on what they do with gathered data. A big difference is that you directly benefit from their services while sharing your information.
Other nations may also be involved in the backdooring business, with the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) as the first potential offender on the list. Such revelations would certainly sober up those who have been ranting at the United States ever since Edward Snowden leaked the NSA documents.
Nevertheless, many accept backdooring and other clandestine means used by the NSA as long as it solely serves to protect the world from evil minds. The question remains how the boundaries between justice and privacy will evolve and where this situation will lead us.