The U.S. space agency NASA uses a network of high powered communications antennae and transmitters around the world to track and exchange data with dozens of man-made probes and satellites travelling through space. Known as the Deep Space Network, the infrastructure is responsible for managing and monitoring the general health and safety of spacecraft currently engaged in valuable scientific research projects. Perhaps less widely known is the fact that Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) form a vital component – providing secure and reliable communications for machine-to-machine (M2M) and telemetry data passing across the network.
There’s an almighty tug-of-war going on between the telcos and the Web companies over Net Neutrality rules. It’s a contentious issue that divides two continents. The current US administration favors the telcos, while the EU wants an Internet that continues to encourage Web company innovation and protects consumer privacy rights. The stakes are high. Should the current rules change, then telcos and ISPs will no longer be obliged to treat all web content equally. It will mean Web companies may have to pay more to distribute their choicest content while the surfing habits and purchase histories of ordinary customers could be sold to the highest bidder. For customers who value their privacy, VPNs are a great way to avoid website traffic analysis and preserve secure Internet connectivity.
The trend towards greater state surveillance has become even more obvious since Edward Snowden’s revelations. Governments frequently justify such invasions of their citizens’ privacy as counterterrorism or anti-pedophile measures. In recent weeks, two unmissable examples of state interference have been hurried through including an amendment to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure in America and the Investigatory Powers Bill by Theresa May. Both laws permit or legalize massive invasions of privacy. Nobody is questioning the presence of a criminal threat – whatever it may be motivated by. However changes to legislation will weaken the security of many IT products which is already under heavy fire as demonstrated by current events such as the Google hack or attack on Telekom routers in Germany.
“We the public are at one of the last points that we will have to make a difference in how normalised the culture of mass surveillance becomes.”
Following the cinema release of Oliver Stone’s latest biopic, Snowden, these words spoken by Edward Snowden himself remind us of what drove him to take controversial action in the name of privacy that made him the polarizing figure he is today.