In a report on mass surveillance by the council of Europe, mass surveillance by governments were criticised not just for undermining human rights but also undermining security for everyone. The report focused on the threat to human rights, privacy, freedom of speech and expression presented by mass surveillance programmes. It also reported that backdoors which some governments are pressuring companies to add undermine security for all users.
What is a backdoor in a computer system?
Backdoors make it possible to circumvent security measures in computer programmes. They can be made for convenience, inserted by malware or they're created by government authories or companies pressured by governments. Backdoors can enable government to spy on individuals. Numerous publications such as the Guardian which has access to the Snowden files claims that numerous companies have already introduced backdoors to allow the NSA access to user data. While the claim is contested, pressure to introduce backdoors isn't anything new such as blackberry in India and even British politicians have indicated that legislation commonly called the snoopers charters could include powers to force companies to introduce backdoors.
While the use of backdoors by governments is an attack on right to privacy, it is also a threat to the trustworthiness of the companies affected. It increases the risks of hackers gaining access to communications and sensitive data that can end up costing companies and individuals massive sums of money. The risks of hacks to companies are great enough that the majority companies are planning to increase their cyber-security budgets this year. If CIOs are re-thinking their cyber-security, maybe you should too. A good anti-virus software is a must but it's no longer enough and internet users have to change their behavior and also consider other technologies such as VPNs like ZenMate.
Why companies location and privacy policies matter
ZenMate is a free VPN available across platforms so what are you waiting for, try it out. VPNs are a known for their usefulness for unblocking sites and avoiding geo-restrictions but they also have massive security benefits. A good VPN like ZenMate has excellent encryption, comes from a trustworthy company and protects your data.