First – open this song and in another browser window while you read today’s post. It’s one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs and it has the lyrics in it. (And the video is crazy.)
This week Edward Snowden came out and said that the U.S. is basically spying on the world. There’s a huge shocker for you. His words:
“I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building,” Snowden told the Guardian.
Through an initiative called PRISM the government has access to records of what you do on the internet. Everything. According to this article:
…Their subject was PRISM, a covert collaboration between the NSA, FBI, and nearly every tech company you rely on daily. PRISM has allowed the government unprecedented access to your personal information for at least the last six years. But what is it, exactly?
PRISM is a secret government program…
As much as PRISM might sound like a comic book antagonist of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s the codename for a very real US government program. According to leaked documents, it went into effect in 2007, and has only gained momentum since. Its stated purpose is to monitor potentially valuable foreign communications that might pass through US servers, but it appears that in practice its scope was far greater.
So not only are you tracked from space, the air, and from cameras across the land you know have the government looking at everything you do online, which for many citizens of the advanced nation is practically everything. Your whole life is laid out so for someone to sift through.
“But they only look at suspected terrorists, Jarhead!”
It seems impossible that the NSA, an agency which by law is only allowed to monitor foreign communications, has so much access to domestic information. And yet!
There are, as you might expect, filters in place to help handle the fire hose of data that comes through daily, the trillions of bits and bytes that make up our online identities and lives. Something to ensure that only the bad guys are being tracked and not honest, everyday citizens. Actually, there’s one filter, and it’s ridiculous: an NSA analyst has to have “51 percent” confidence that a subject is “foreign.” After that, it’s carte blanche.
That’s it. That’s the only filter. And it’s an ineffective one, at that; the PowerPoint slides published by the post acknowledge that domestic citizens get caught in the web, but that it’s “nothing to worry about.”
Phew! For a second there I though I might have to worry about MY privacy being compromised.
Wait a minute! Aren’t those who have guns and store food for long term emergencies on some kind of list somewhere? Hmmm….
A Matter Of Privacy
I suppose in the grand scheme of things it’s unlikely the government would want to tear your background apart. There are millions and millions of people and just so many worker bees to check it out. But… your personal information is out there! And business information… and everything! Just think about anything that uses the web these days – which is pretty much everything – and it’s out there. If that doesn’t scare you then I don’t know what will.
Sure, they’re not using it right now like they did in Orwell’s 1984, but the framework is being erected and we’re all meekly baaaahhhinng in the fields while they do it.
So there’s Jarhead’s daily dose of tinfoil.
What do you think? Am I way off base or is there something to be concerned about here?
Sound off below!