Is "Big Brother" Watching You?
National Security Exposed
Online much? Hope you’re not easily paranoid because Big Brother is watching you’re every move. There has been a recent revelation in the United States that the federal government is actively collecting data on its citizens through the Internet and on all mobile devices. It is one of those “Elephant in the room” scenarios that everyone sort of knew was going on which has now been confirmed. “It’s for your own good” the President explained in a brief media address. “If you want to be protected from terrorists you have to give up some of your personal liberties. You can’t have it both ways.”
The 2001 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York, better known as 911 ushered in a new era in America. The national security agency, Homeland Security was given sweeping new powers to protect the nation and ensure that nothing like 911 will ever happen again on American soil. Where other security agencies like the CIA focuses most of its energies outside the country, Homeland Security focuses its resources internally. It has the power to gather information while bypassing a key provision in the constitution which is the right to privacy.
How does it do that? It does that by co-opting the resources of many of the country’s largest media companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google. Many of these media companies fought bitterly to maintain the privacy of their customers but eventually they had to give in and comply. Once in compliance the NSA moves in and sets up an internal filtering system that tracks all internet traffic and search activity. In the case of a phone company they record every phone number dialed and match them up with the name of both the caller and the person he or she called.
The Buzz Collectors
Why go through so much work just to know who is calling who and who is searching for what on the internet? In the case of the internet they are searching for “BUZZ” words. These words can be anything associated with making bombs, poisons, or anything else that may lead them to suspicious activity. So, just like search engines use “Spiders” to gather information, the government spies scan web pages, social media, chat rooms, and web searches for key words to form a profile of a user.
If you have nothing to hide you need not worry that the NSA is tracking your activities on a long term basis. The vast majority of Americans are skimmed over as their daily activities rarely go beyond the mundane. If they find you interesting however, they create a folder on you and monitor that folder until it gets large enough to assign an agent to it. Then they find your phone number and start monitoring your calls and offline activities.
In the case of an offline individual who may or may not have a mobile phone they may profile you differently according to your name, racial background, and religious affiliation. This is where certain racial and religious groups get put under an Electron microscope. This is also where relinquishing ones privacy for the good of the country is most often called into question as the level of animosity and racism gets too much to bare for some. It has to potential to create the opposite effect where someone under scrutiny lashes out in retaliation.
Now that “the cat has been let out of the bag” that the government is secretly invading your privacy will you change the way you use the internet? I certainly won’t. I think it’s a small price to pay as psychos get more resourceful in their efforts at mass murder and chaos. I just wish that the Feds would share some of their valuable info with security software companies so that they can create better programs to stop the hackers, virus makers, and scammers who thrive on ripping people off. Then again it makes you wonder how affective these government agencies are against terrorists if they can’t even identify the hackers and send them packing. Keep the watch Big Brother.