Mozilla’s Lightbeam: A Leading Indicator on How U.S. Internet Giants Have Become Privacy Advocates!
Congratulations to Mozilla on their new Firefox plugin Lightbeam.
Lightbeam allows consumers to see who is tracking their web browsing. It is a part of a much needed trend where internet technology companies are stepping up to the plate to protect their users’ privacy from unchecked government surveillance.
Thankfully, almost all of the big internet companies (like Google and Microsoft) have taken a proactive role in attempting to protect their users’ privacy from surveillance overreach.
This isn’t altruism. Corporations, foreign governments, and technology savvy individuals have stated very loudly with their dollars that they expect protection from government snooping without a warrant.
Today, technology companies are facing lost sales from new competitors created in countries that respect privacy and that don’t have secret courts, like FISA, to step around constitutional protections. Given the current legal environment, that level of surety is impossible for U.S. companies to offer and the negative impact has been felt. To prevent this mini-trend from accelerating, large U.S. tech firms are finally deploying everything from lawsuits to better encryption to give their users’ peace of mind.
But real change won’t happen without a large number of consumers demanding it. For that to happen, consumer-friendly technologies, like Lightbeam, are critical because they allow all of us to easily see how little real digital privacy we have. Hopefully, enough people will become concerned to force an open debate on our security versus our privacy–a discussion our elected officials have avoided despite the Snowden revelations.
Wow – I wrote this post last week got swamped, and forgot to post it. Glad I didn’t because the Facebook EU privacy case underlines the real costs that our out of control security infrastructures bring with them. As I said atop my high horse on LinkedIn:
“This ruling may lead to EU companies being forced to NOT store data on US servers. NSA overreach is not only unconstitutional but it has and will continue to hurt the US technology industry. To prevent this, the NSA must be bought to heel by either Congress or the Administration. This unfortunately seems unlikely given the proclivities of the current Congress and President Obama to blindly follow the NSA’s lead.”
The other news that happened this week was the re-animation of the privacy destroying CISPA as CISA by the House of Representatives. Next week’s post will talk about CISA, it’s pernicious attack on the 4th amendment and why the major tech. companies that I laud above are supporting it.