#CyberFLASH: Cyber spying thrives as mankind bids farewell to a private life

large_cybersecWASHINGTON – Eighteen months ago National Security Agency cyber spy Edward Snowden shocked the world when he emerged from the shadows to reveal the biggest government surveillance program mankind has ever known.

By collecting bulk data on phone calls, emails and other social media communications, the U.S. government was essentially monitoring the private lives of pretty well everybody with a phone and/or Internet connection. Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Asians – it didn’t matter. We had all come under suspicion.

Boosted by a decades-old intelligence gathering and sharing agreement called the “Five Eyes” – U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand – there was every reason to believe that not only was the U.S. sharing this information with its partners, but also these countries were watching their citizens with similar vigor.

The blowback was ferocious and U.S. President Barack Obama eventually promised action in 2014. The expectation was that the NSA would be reined in.

Well, 2014 has come and gone. What’s happened?

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