Mozilla worried about divided Internet after NSA reports

Mozilla’s chief privacy officer said Tuesday that the company is concerned about other countries “balkanizing” the Internet after last year’s revelations about U.S. surveillance.

Alex Fowler told NPR that Mozilla worries about countries “isolating themselves, creating their own versions of the Net and closing off that broader access to information and the ability to contribute back to the broader Internet community.”

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Fowler pointed to Brazil and Germany, both of which have considered proposals that would limit their citizens’ data to companies within their borders.

Those countries are “seeing that as a viable approach to protecting the privacy and security of their citizens,” he said.

The next director of the National Security Agency should take human rights concerns like these into account when overseeing surveillance activities, Fowler told NPR.

“We are seeing a changing set of public values and concerns, as it relates to those particular activities. And so I think it's important to remind ourselves that, even an intelligence agency isn't above and beyond the law.”

Fowler also addressed last week’s speech by President Obama, during which he laid out his plans to reform U.S. surveillance programs.

The speech did not address the U.S. government’s attempt to create “backdoors” to infiltrate communications technologies, Fowler said.

“It's not just our intelligence agencies that may be using [the backdoors] to protect national security, but it also leaves them there for hackers and other criminals engaged in trying to break into those particular systems.”