Michael Hayden who is the former director of CIA and NSA gave a speech at the educational forum at Saint John’s Episcopal Church this Sunday. The topic of discussions at this forum for adult education was the clash between liberty and security. During his speech, he came up with a surprising statement that terrorists all over the world prefer to use the Gmail service.
Talking about the PRISM program, he defended the section 702 which covers the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and provides the basis for this program. Well it was here during the speech that he said that Gmail is preferred by terrorists all over the world. It can be reasonably presumed that he was only indicating towards the services being preferred and not the service provider (Google). He also added that Google won’t be flaunting this fact in its commercials, but the service is free and widespread which makes it a preferred one.
On being asked the question that the unrestrained surveillance program of the USA is setting a bad example for nations worldwide, Hayden said that ”the origins of internet in USA justifies the act of NSA to some extent”. He also added that ”if the world of web lasts for another 500 years or so, then USA may very well be remembered for it like the Romans are still remembered for the roads that they built”.
He further added that ”the internet world has been quite distinctively built by the Americans, and it is one of the reasons why most of the traffic passes through our servers. The government only takes a snapshot of this traffic for the purpose of intelligence and surveillance”.
Well that response from Hayden may not be comforting for the USA technology companies which are already eying NSA as hurting their overseas customer base. A recent report which has been given by the ITIF foundation has predicted that due to some of the recent revelations, cloud services providers in the US might go on to lose 21.5 to 35 billion Dollars over the span of the next 3 years. The chief executive officer of CloudFlare, a network provider and web security firm, said that the massive data request orders from the government are really insane and this is causing them to lose customers.
Mr. Hayden has also admitted that US may very well be charged with the accusation of militarizing the web world. The tactical access operations of the NSA has been reportedly charged for hacking foreign sites for the purpose of stealing data and monitoring communication. They have also been reported to develop programs that can damage and destroy foreign networks and computers via cyber attacks.
Expressing his concern for the online world of communication, MR. Hayden said that he has a problem with the anonymity of this web world. He also pointed out the Arab Spring Movement which was being funded by the State Department for protecting the nameless activities that occur in the world of internet.
Adding further, Hayden said that a tough time with this issue still lies ahead of us. He asked about our vision for the world of internet. Is it a digital world of global commons or a peace zone free of fire? Having said that, he compared the online world with Somalia and the Wild West. Well he seemed to be clearly inclined towards the vision of the internet as a “fire free global zone”.