Surveillance: An Overview
Golden Frog was founded in response to mass surveillance activities, so we have always been greatly concerned by mass surveillance and aimed to put an end to these practices. Many governments – both in the United States and in other countries around the world – conduct surveillance on a variety of scales. Mass surveillance refers to conducting surveillance of citizens on a large, sweeping scale, without specific targeting or filtering of the information being collected or individuals being targeted. In the United States, many are familiar with the programs like the NSA’s Upstream which carry out this widespread collection of information. Mass surveillance is extremely concerning, as it violates the privacy of a great number of people leaving them vulnerable to intrusive snooping by their governments – even if they haven’t committed any wrongdoing. As concerning as surveillance is, it becomes all the more of an issue when we recognize that more often than not, citizens being surveilled are not aware that these practices are taking place. Surveillance activities amount to spying, and no one wants to be spied (especially without due cause).
Surveillance takes many forms, and can be anything from tapping into a wireless network, to the government conducting secret information collection programs, to regulations aimed at combating crime which are too broad, to data retention, to tapping into encrypted communications.
We’ve been calling for an end to surveillance for years now, advocating for privacy and the right of individuals to protect their information and communications from invasive governmental practices. We continue to fight against these practices as they occur around the world, and are currently pushing for reform of the FISA 702 amendments in the United States, which authorize widespread mass surveillance even of those not target of investigations. While we understand that surveillance is sometimes necessary for national security purposes, what we take serious issue with is the scale on which it’s conducted and the untargeted and unchecked nature of this surveillance. Governments need to be held accountable for their actions, with strict regulations to limit surveillance to what is absolutely necessary and ensure those with the power to collect or view information are kept in check. When surveillance activities are conducted, they should be narrow in scope and targeted appropriately. We need to stop the dragnet and blanket practices that occur and impact huge swaths of individuals whom should not be impacted. Learn More