Technology giants have been collecting so much of our data for so long that it’s too late to take precautionary steps to protect digital privacy, according to former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff.

“We are actually surveilling ourselves. We’re doing a lot of the collection that we used to imagine would be the government, as individuals,” Chertoff said on “CBS This Morning.”

“We go around, we take selfies, we photograph each other, we upload things to the internet…. And that is why we have actually become Little Brother in the place of Big Brother.”

“We have always been worried that Big Brother might force his way into our home, but Big Brother need not beat down the door. We are currently rolling out the red carpet to welcome him,” he added.

So because the issue of digital privacy is essentially dead thanks to Facebook and Google, Americans should now focus on maintaining online autonomy and freedom, he says.

“The idea that we’re going to keep things behind closed doors really has become almost quaint. So now the question is, what happens when the data is generated? Do we have some control over it? And that I think is where the battleground is in terms of our freedom, because if people have a 100 percent view of everything that we do all the time, then the ability to manipulate us and coerce us becomes a real issue,” he said.

The price of using the internet shouldn’t be surrendering your data, and users should take more responsibility in how their data is created.

“I do think we need to have the courts and the government do some weighing of what the balance ought to be in terms of data control. We now have platforms that are so vast that they really are almost monopolies…. People have a right to say no without sacrificing their ability to access the platform,” he said.

The issue of online privacy resurfaced after Facebook was caught selling information of 87 million users to third-party data broker Cambridge Analytica earlier this year.

President Trump also suggested the National Security Agency violated Americans’ privacy earlier this month after the secretive spy agency announced it had deleted hundreds of millions of their phone calls and texts due to “technical irregularities.”

“Wow! The NSA has deleted 685 million phone calls and text messages. Privacy violations?” the president wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “They blame technical irregularities. Such a disgrace. The Witch Hunt continues!”



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