5 messaging and cloud storage apps the government isn't snooping on... yet
While we all knew the government and even private enterprise can monitor and collect communications data from carriers and other providers for "mining", and these efforts were really stepped up after 9/11, with the introduction of the Patriot Act, the true face of it never made it public until The Guardian scooped a secret court order from the NSA to Verizon.
NSA officials claiming the system is crucial for national security and has accountability and safeguards built-in, while tinfoil hat types arguing that even this bulk data collection is more than the government should be involved with. Actually, if you look for PRISM on the DoT website, it comes in plain site as a database that also collects vendor data for government procurement, meaning that the system's reach spans each and every critical for the national security sector, rather than being there for snooping on your Gmails, as the tinfoil crowd is trying to portray.It's been a furious tug-of-war since, with the
denied to be giving backdoor access to PRISM, the surveillance system in question, though we all know they cooperate when they are subpoenaed for clearly criminal cases, and perhaps that's why they made it into the NSA's PRISM slide below. Google in particular issues data how many such requests it receives annually from authorities, and the number has mushroomed significantly in our post-9/11 world.Google, Apple, Microsoft and others already
It becomes clear that if we want to play it safe, or simply don't like our communication details being scooped up in bulk, we should be avoiding the big boys as these are all in the eye of the NSA. There are some alternatives, however, which you can switch to in your everyday communications, if you are miffed about that whole PRISM thing. Besides smaller, but excellent cloud services like SugarSync, you can pivot towards foreign ones, as it would be really hard for the NSA to court order bulk scooping to a Korean service for example, or directly use an app that is built with encrypted communication in mind.
The list below is by no means extensive, so if you've come across anything similar short of creating your own end-to-end encrypted network, share it in the comments.