"Internet experts say Washington's covert program to track the online
activity of foreigners by tapping into the servers of Facebook, Google,
Skype, and other U.S. companies could play directly into the hands of
repressive regimes. The revelation could provide them with potentially
powerful justification for existing programs that restrict online
freedoms -- as well as cover for implementing new measures.
Ronald Deibert, the director of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab,
one of the world's foremost research centers on how cyberspace, global
security, and human rights interrelate, says the United States has now
largely ceded the moral high ground on Internet freedom.
'As countries realize that a lot of the structural power conferred on
the United States and other countries comes from their ability to
essentially coerce domestic telecommunications carriers into colluding
with their intercept and wiretap programs, countries around the world
will quickly look to rectify that by building and encouraging their own
national networks and subjecting them to their own territorialized
controls,' Deibert says. 'That naturally leads to a spiral towards a
more Balkanized Internet. It is really a kind of perverse set of
unintended consequences that we're nurturing.'"
Either we're living in a 1984 world where our government spies on us 24/7, or we are free. I prefer the latter.