The tracing of communications, Internet browsing, and online purchases, is the major source of American intelligence, and more broadly, that of most of the major world powers. Tracking the vast volumes now referred to as Big Data is a movement undergoing an indefinite intensification, correlated to the ever-increasing curve of sales of mobile phones, smartphones, computers, and tablets, as well as interconnected protocols promoting exponential generation of the data.
What the successive revelations of the Prism affair are bringing to light is not so much the fact that America’s National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on data from all sides; we’ve known that since at least the exposure of the Echelon network at the end of the 1980s. No, the true revelation is the vast scale of the data collections amassed through measures and arrangements that not only often defy the law, but somehow exceed our ability to comprehend them.
If a somewhat motley self-awareness regarding these practices has manifested itself so far in various forms by citizens and associations without encountering an echo to match the gravity of what is at stake, we can today assert that the information revealed by Edward Snowden and passed on by Glenn Greenwald marks a decisive turning point: that of an awakening of a global consciousness that has decided actively to tackle the urgent need to regulate the practices of harvesting, preserving and using personal data.
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Read the original article in Le Monde here.