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Digital Surveillance in the Post-Snowden Era


Digital Surveillance in the Post-Snowden Era

Percy Campbell, Jessica (2016) Digital Surveillance in the Post-Snowden Era. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Since 2013, we have learned a great deal about the inner workings of the surveillance state of the U.S. and its allies in the Five Eyes (Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and Australia). Through Edward Snowden’s leaks to the press, hundreds of classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents have been made available to the public online. Perhaps most importantly, the Snowden leaks have uncovered relationships between the corporate empire of digital communications platforms and Western intelligence agencies. For example, one internal NSA document demonstrates that Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft and Skype have shared access to their servers with the NSA through the PRISM program for almost a decade. PRISM and related programs have allowed the Five Eyes to collect and store unprecedented troves of information on their own citizens, including massive amounts of e-mails, text messages, online chats, status updates, phone calls, videos, cellphone location data and search engine history despite constitutional protections against unwarranted searches. As state-run initiatives collect personal data on hundreds of millions of people on an untargeted basis, this thesis questions the scope of their reach in the U.S. and Canada. Has increased public awareness resulted in significant policy reform or have intelligence agencies and corporations continued running the same patterns? This work questions the future of the internet and digital privacy as various entities collect user data for the ultimate purpose of predicting and manipulating user behaviour, both online and in “real life”. As we enter unchartered realms of technological capability, the use of strong encryption and alternative software programs are offered as temporary solutions for securing communications online.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Percy Campbell, Jessica
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:1 December 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Best, Beverley
Keywords:Big Data, predictive analytics, Snowden, surveillance, predictive policing, surveillance capitalism, datafication, encryption
ID Code:982093
Deposited On:09 Jun 2017 13:48
Last Modified:24 Jun 2021 01:00
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