Spy Agencies (and Corporations) in America

   Espionage has always been a controversial issue; it can be both intriguing or traitorous. In the US, spying has become a relevant topic, with the development of new technologies that enable the government and big companies to spy on American citizens. Indeed, many operator companies, such as AT&T or T-mobile, have the ability to collect data from phone calls, including the location, time, and phone numbers of the participants. However, it doesn’t stop there: new devices, such as the very innovative Amazon Echo and Google home, can also record and store your private conversations.

   Nowadays, espionage is mostly cyber-espionage. Sites you visit, online purchases you make, are all tracked and stored by companies. But the scariest part is this: behind all of these companies, the NSA, National Security Agency, can request all of the data collected under any pretext. Thus, it can be said that all cyber-espionage violates the rights to privacy established by the fourth amendment of the constitution.

A major scandal concerning this issue has recently occurred: the Apple-FBI scandal. This scandal was uncovered two years ago, after the San Bernardino terror attacks, when the FBI asked Apple to provide them access to the iPhone of the shooter. From there, a long debate between security and privacy took place: while the FBI needed the information on the terrorist’s phone, Apple feared it would create a key, capable of breaking in every iPhone, and therefore, ruin their image as a trustworthy company. Apple chief executive at the time, Tim Cook, argued that even though the FBI only sought to obtain information from one phone, nothing would stop them from cracking into every other phone if Apple granted them access. Yet, at the end, the FBI still managed to break into the phone, which shows that nowadays, espionage dominates over privacy in the US.

By Hugo Bucquet