George Orwell was an optimist

George Orwell was an optimist

“The two greatest tools of our time have been turned into government surveillance tools. I’m talking about the mobile phone and the Internet. George Orwell was an optimist.”

These words are from Mikko Hyppönen who is the Chief Research Officer for F-Secure. He has worked with F-Secure in Finland since 1991. Since the 1990s, Hyppönen has assisted law enforcement in the United States, Europe and Asia on cybercrime cases and advises governments on cybercrime. His team was responsible for taking down the Sobig.F botnet.  In 2004, Hyppönen co-operated with Vanity Fair on a feature, The Code Warrior, which examined his role in the Blasterand Sobig Computer worms.

He was in Istanbul on Dec. 2. He told many interesting facts about security, among which he said any foreigner who is using U.S.-based services has absolutely no control over his/her own information. He said the U.S. government can have a look at what you are sending or receiving at any time.

I always thought that 1984 was not meant to be used as a manuscript for governments to better oppress people. I am sure that George Orwell wrote it as a warning for future generations, but the reality is stranger and darker than fiction.

The note from his TED Video says: As a few hundred million more Internet users join the web from India and China and elsewhere, and as governments and corporations become more sophisticated at using viruses as weapons, Hyppönen asks, what’s next? Who will be at the front defending the world’s networks from malicious software? He says: “It’s more than unsettling to realize there are large companies out there developing backdoors, exploits and trojans.”

Even more unsettling: revelations this year that the U.S.’ NSA is conducting widespread digital surveillance of both U.S. citizens and anyone whose data passes through a U.S. entity, and that it has actively sabotaged encryption algorithms. Hyppönen has become one of the most outspoken critics of the agency’s programs and asks us all: Why are we so willing to hand over digital privacy?

Hyppönen suggests we should use VPN services to cover our tracks while surfing the web. However it is not an ultimate solution, you can only hide this way. Someone can still find your tracks.

We should unite under the umbrella of human rights and fight for our right to surf the Internet without being recorded.