- Politics and Social Issues
Daily Surveillance Has Been Forced Upon Your Daily Routine
A lot people know that they are being watched but don’t even realize the measures the NSA has gone to monitor you. What I learned has completely shocked me. The NSA monitors all mobile traffic on android devices by recording the number called, duration of call and the nearest tower (essentially your rough location). All calls you make internationally are monitored. We just recently discovered that the NSA actively works with companies like Google to write vulnerabilities that they exploit into their code. Go look this stuff up for yourself. This is not conspiracy theories; it is real life. Now would be a good time to look at that cell-phone a little differently.
Do You Believe the NSA Is Spying On You
All though we may not like the idea of the government reading our emails and listening to our phone calls, that concept doesn’t seem more ominous than the threat of a terrorist attack, as evidenced by widespread support of the PATRIOT Act in 2002. While a handful of American citizens will actually have a direct experience with one of these potential dangers (i.e., an act of terrorism on American soil or having their Fourth Amendment rights violated), the vast majority only have to confront these questions on a purely theoretical basis.
NSA monitors you in so many capacities. The NSA is allowed to collect info on people, three degrees of separation from suspects. From a suspect with 260 contacts, 4 billion other people can be monitored. To get around privacy laws, they use metadata instead of monitoring conversations. The NSA has created a program called “PRISM” that gathers information from social sites. In 6 months 18,000 Facebook accounts were ‘affected’. Data mining of calls was implemented by Bush after 9/11. The other shocking reality is that they can turn your cell-phone and computer’s camera and mic on remotely; they can even listen to conversations even when the phone is turned off. The NSA has been working with companies such as Google allowing the NSA to input special code into the software. 75% of smart phones have that NSA code. The NSA’s budget includes $255 million which they use to check email encryption for millions of people. The US treasury even is part of this “snooping”. They use a program called SWIFT; SWIFT is a program that monitors financial transactions of suspects and foreign nationals. Because of Snowden it was revealed that SWIFT was expanded to include US Citizens.
Even when you are shopping you can be monitored. Stores have used technology that tracks your movements while you are buying the latest goods. Retailers want to know more about their customers in order to sell their product more effectively, and tracking people’s movements through the store is one option. Stores have even used a certain video surveillance program to gather information about customers that tell the person’s gender and how many minutes they spend in a certain department. According to the New York Times “Cameras have become so sophisticated, with sharper lenses and data processing abilities they can analyze what shoppers are looking at and even the shopper’s mood”.
Between 2008 and 2010, Britain's GCHQ, in cooperation with the U.S. National Security Agency, ran the "Optic Nerve" program which covertly intercepted and collected webcam imagery from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally. According to comScore data, Yahoo Messenger had 4.3 million unique users in January 2014. The agencies were running the program for automatic facial recognition experiments, to monitor existing suspects and to "discover new targets of interest" for the intelligence organizations.
Images were taken as often as once every five minutes, a limit issued to avoid overloading GCHQ systems, as well as to "partly comply" with human rights legislation.
Obama refused to apologize for the too-free hand of the agency in spying on both the general public and international allies, and instead claimed that the NSA was, "not abusing authorities in order to listen to your private phone calls, or read your emails."
Meanwhile, U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague, who oversees GCHQ's activities, said in June 2013 "law-abiding" citizens have "nothing to fear" from the British intelligence services.
Huh? The agency may not be listening to your private phone calls, but they are cataloging your private parts.
How often do you talk on your smart phone? Talking on your phone is about as secure as sending an email. (Not secure at all). We learned earlier this year that the government was able to demand a log of calls made by millions of Verizon customers over a three-month period. US News reported “phone numbers of both parties on a call, location data, and the time and duration of a call.” According to the Wall Street Journal, “the NSA has the capacity to reach about 75% of all US internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the US and also filters domestic phone calls made with internet technology.”
Within the government who can you trust; I don’t think you can trust anyone. Every election the president always promises a transparent administration; however we never see that. So when you decide to watch TV, shop at a mall, call your friend always keep in mind someone is watching.
Perhaps we should choose to rein in those who believe they are above decency; above duping those who vote for and place their trust in them; above adhering to what we consider in the West to be basic respect -- all in the name of the fight against the terrorism buzzword.
This kind of widespread, mortifying surveillance by members of the public on the public needs to stop, and stop now -- this is not a "trade-off" -- this is outright abuse of power and technology to leach away at the rights and privacy of the general public both in the U.S. and across the pond. Those in power, in places we have granted them, should apologize -- and not just because of this latest leak or the catalog of naughty bits anatomists would give a right arm for, but for the continual, secret erosion of things that are important in life.