ioanna fotopoulou

Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

SNOWDEN WHO? INTERNET WHAT? AND THEN GREECE.

In Opinions and bullet points. on July 22, 2013 at 5:50 pm

SNOWDEN WHO? INTERNET WHAT? AND THEN GREECE.

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Dear dots,
I am positively sure that each one of you know who Snowden is. What he did, where and for whom he was working for. The point of this article is not to talk about the same old story once again. On the contrary, it serves a different purpose. We should quickly wrap up everything that has been said, everything we have heard. Even the rumor, that Snowden has been proposed for a Nobel Prize. Yes even that. So after having all the clues in our hands, we can savvy how actively or not Greece is participating in this situation.
Let me begin with the main actors of this drama. The US National Security Agency (NSA) in the leading role with the PRISM programme. Costar is the British Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) with their programme TEMPORA. These two main f-actors had been collecting data from over 200 fibre- optic cables that connected USA with the other side of the Atlantic (which means us, the European Union).
These personal data of European citizens were collected and being kept in such a manner that would be illegal under the current law for privacy and personal data protection in the USA. To be precise, the full information that have been under surveillance were kept for a period of 3 days, while the metadata (information like the sender of an email, the recipient, date of sending, or concerning phone calls, the duration and the exact geographical position of the involved members) were on hold for 30 days.
In any case, it was always made clear to us that these programmes are here to ensure national security and combat terrorism. Under this «prism», the data that were collected but were not relevant to such matters were repudiated without being processed. However this is not such a big remedy; because we, as European citizens, have left with not much to do. We don’t even get a chance of hearing in the American courts and fight for our rights on a legal way.
This is the reason why as Ms Reding ( European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental rights and Citizenship) stated, we need European and non European companies to play by our rules and act under our laws, we need a more concrete and broader definition of the term “personal data” as well as international data transactions should be unfettered no more.
Connecting all the before mentioned with Greece, I can’t help but wonder where do we stand. We lag at internet economy almost from all the European countries (just Turkey and Slovakia are found behind us in the classification). Only 1,2 % of Greek GDP comes from activities run through Internet according to 2010 report. We clearly realize though, how important this factor, called internet, is. This truculent escalation of feelings concerning data protection and the usage of them from huge internet companies (like microsoft, google, facebook, etc) should teach us something. It should show us that we need to progress on that field. We need throughout this economic crisis to invest on research and not just cut our pensions and limit our salaries to minimum. We should invest on internet economy, should bridge the university and its students with the economic market. We have the potential for it, we have the proper education. All we need is to dare that next step towards our future. An investment for the current generations carrying on to the generations to come.