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Tech Industry Fears Government Abuse of Online Personal Data

Image: Tech Industry Fears Government Abuse of Online Personal Data
A sign displays the Apple logo outside of the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

By    |   Monday, 10 Jun 2013 10:23 AM

Internet pioneers are becoming increasingly concerned that online personal data is being accessed and misused by the government amid reports that Silicon Valley's leading companies have allowed federal intelligence agencies to gain access to private data.

According to The New York Times, entrepreneurs who saw the Internet as a vehicle for freedom and grassroots empowerment are raising the alarm that the right to privacy is under threat as the government uses it to track and monitor private citizens.

"Most of the people who developed the network are bothered by the way it is being misused," Les Earnest, a retired Stanford computer scientist and inventor of an early version of social networking, told the Times. "From the beginning we worried about governments getting control. Well, our government has finally found a way to tap in."

Internet experts point to a government project, Prism, in which the National Security Agency convinced companies including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Apple and Facebook to provide data to allow the agency to track foreign nationals that may be linked to terrorist activities. President Barack Obama has justified the program saying it's worth giving up a little privacy for more security.

"I think it's great they're looking for the next terrorist. Then I wonder if they're going to arrest me, or snoop on me," said Scott McNealy, chief executive of Sun Microsystems, told The Times.

But despite their fears, many in the tech world believe the risks to privacy were latent as companies found new ways to collect personal data to market products with increasing precision.

"We're pushing our government to protect us, and we're also busy putting more and more of our information out there for people to look at," said Christopher Clifton, a Purdue computer scientist who has done extensive work on data collection methods to protect privacy, told The Times. "The fact that some of the data is indeed going to be looked at might be disturbing but it shouldn't be surprising."

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Internet pioneers are becoming increasingly concerned that online personal data is being accessed and misused by the government amid reports that Silicon Valley's leading companies have allowed the government to gain access to private data. According to The...
nsa,surveillance,high,tech,industry
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2013-23-10
Monday, 10 Jun 2013 10:23 AM
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