Lack of online security questions digital-age safety


Stuart Patterson

Snowden’s interview reminds technology users that their privacy can be breached at any moment.

Ikbal Ahluwalia, Student Life Editor

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden recently appeared in Moscow on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight to discuss password security with Oliver.

     Snowden revealed, “For somebody who has a very common eight character password, it can literally take less than a second for a computer to go through the possibilities and pull that password out.” Such insecurity poses a serious threat to many students with sensitive information being protected by a simple password.  Snowden advised that people shift from “passwords” to “passphrases.”

     Snowden had also revealed that the NSA’s domestic spying system, PRISM, gathered communications information about users of online companies like Yahoo, Google, and Facebook.

     His release of this undercover activity sparked controversy and immediate responses from executives at online companies.

     Ron Bell of Yahoo stated, “The notion that Yahoo gives any federal agency vast or unfettered access to our users’ records is categorically false.”

     Jack Barker ’18, who wrote an eighth grade speech titled “The Villainous NSA,” commented, “We cannot accept the National Security Agency when it does not stop terrorists, takes away our freedoms, and endangers the safety of our country.”

     Barker’s claim proves at least  somewhat true, as CNN reported that NSA domestic spying programs helped to stop no more than three attacks.

     Snowden stated, “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the President if I had a personal e-mail.”

      Snowden  articulated that the NSA’s immense power comes from its unconstitutional spying programs. It’s quite possible that these programs still have the capability of tap ping students’ electronics, be they personal or school-issued.

     Barker added, “Where an unyielding concrete wall blocking the government from our privacy once stood, now stands an emaciated, translucent piece of glass.”