Why NSA snooping is making us all paranoid

Prism illustration
These definitely don't contain your secrets. Honestly.

The relationship between global tech companies and consumers took a turn for the worse in 2013 in light of revelations around the US government's surveillance program, PRISM.

Once the dust settled, the aftermath could best be described as uncomfortable: knowing that organisations may have given federal agents the green light to sift through your private communications left a sore spot, and companies including Apple and Yahoo were moved to 'fess up on how many times they had supplied data upon demand.

So how have events over the past 12 months impacted levels of trust between UK consumers and organisations?

Not very positively, according to a research report by Japan-based ICT giant Fujitsu, which found that almost a third (29%) of 3,000 consumers are less trusting than they were one year ago.

Other results from the report don't make for pretty reading - if you're in the social media domain. Almost a third of respondents (31%) indicated 'zero trust' in social media companies abilities to safeguard data, and just 9% of consumers have any faith in any organisation to do the same.

To dig deeper into the issue of consumer trust, data and tech brands, we spoke to David Robinson, Chief Security Officer at Fujitsu UK and Ireland.

Relationship crisis

TechRadar Pro: Why has consumer trust in organizations declined in the last few years?

David Robinson: Data is rapidly becoming one of the defining themes of the decade. It is also becoming one of the most divisive. While the frenzy around data may be particularly pronounced at the moment, our fervour for it is not a new phenomenon.

Our relationship with the data we create has always been fragile, and that fragility has only increased in the digital era. Part of the issue relates to the ever-expanding volume of data.

Google's Eric Schmidt made headlines in 2010 with his assertion that humanity now creates more information in a two-day period than it did in the entirety of the two millennia before.


Are your private communications really private?

An EMC-sponsored study from the following year found that we would need a mountain of iPads, 25 times taller than Mount Fuji, in order to store the 1.8 zettabytes of information generated in 2011.

Those data mountains are made from the tiniest pieces of gravel. From social media to the Internet of Things, we generate data points at almost every moment of our waking lives.

Even previously innocuous activities – from swiping a railcard to changing a TV channel – create a digital footprint that can be used to analyse, predict and even act upon our behaviour.

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.