The NSA Prism leak from over a week ago has sparked discussion regarding the government's surveillance on citizens and people even from outside the U.S.. Companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft are all in on it regardless of how they may try to spin things. But if the chief of the National Security Agency and the President both come out addressing the NSA Prism leak, you know some of it has to be real. We have always known the government has kept tabs on us in some form or fashion, but ever since Edward Snowden's NSA Prism leak, we can't help but consider new technology in light of the government's massive surveillance programs. A couple in particular freak us out.
This is definitely not a good time to be touting your "always-listening" video game console. On May 21, Microsoft unveiled their long rumored Xbox One (or 720/Durango depending on the rumors you followed) along with the games and media features and abilities contained in the new system. Among them were the new Kinect's always-listening feature, letting users turn on the device simply by saying "Xbox on."
Users complained about the console's always-listening microphone and the improved camera that can see gamers in the dark. As an already intrusive tool that could be used maliciously in the wrong hands, when considered against the backdrop of a NSA Prism-wielding government, certainly doesn't bode well for the console. It's bad enough Microsoft ruined Skype for people, now we can't game without our privacy being invaded.
Or I guess you could just go PlayStation 4.
Potentially even more creepy than a camera in your living room is one you wear on your face. Google Glass has been much sought after by tech types and regular folk alike. Glass provides a great deal of functionality, allowing users to check notifications, respond to messages and use maps all from the wearable screen. Some have expressed their discomfort with Glass's camera functionality, with the device not even having an LED to indicate when a photo or video is being taken. While usually this would be its own level of sketchy, knowing that the NSA Prism program could let the government see what you snap doesn't necessarily make things better.
While these examples stand out, there are other variables from other companies to consider. Apple mentioned encryption on FaceTime audio calls in their latest keynote, along with iMessage security we already know about, though they never mentioned anything about our SMS messages. And who knows what Facebook's upcoming event could announce. The NSA Prism program affects a large majority of the important players in today's tech scene. And with every major new product announcement, we can't help but wonder.