Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Are You Ready For Total Surveillance?

We all got to learn that the NSA was blatantly spying on the American public last year when one of their contractors, Edward Snowden, became a whistle-blower. Few of us were surprised that the NSA was spying on people, I mean, after all, they are a spying agency. But I was not aware of the extent to which their spying capabilities reached.

A new video of an independent journalist who got his hands on some leaked NSA documents has gotten me a little riled up. According to the documents, the NSA has been able to hack into people's home routers to see all of their internet traffic, as well as hack into unsuspecting American's cell phones where they have the ability to remotely turn on your microphone, enabling them to listen to private conversations you have through your own phone. One of the dirtiest things they are doing, is that once they can see your internet traffic, if you happen to order a computer online, they can intercept the computer on its way to your home, install spyware on it or implant devices onto the motherboard that can collect and transmit data. And they're slick. Some of the spyware they use can be installed right onto the BIOS of the computer, so that even if you reformat your hard drive, the spyware will still be there. According to the video, it also seems as if large American tech corporations like Dell, Cisco, HP, Microsoft and Apple apparently are working with the NSA to allow their devices to enable data collection and transmition to the NSA. Scary.

From these leaked documents we can surmise that the NSA's goal is to have a state of total surveillance, in which everything that everyone does online and on their cell phone - anything that is transmitted digitally in any way - is recorded and monitored by the NSA. And if the NSA can do it, why couldn't a corporation do it, or a foreign government? We know that every country is spying on each other, but this is almost too much to bare. We will in the very near future be living in a world in which our entire digital lives are recorded and stored in giant server farms, so that if at anytime in the future, someone wants to know what you were doing on, say, January 9th, 2014, then all they'd have to do is put a few key words and identifiers into a computer system, and it can query enough data to see what emails you sent, what websites you went to, your phone records for that day, and the geo-location of where your phone went, which is pretty much where you went. In other words, they'd pretty much know everything that you did on that day, and if they were able to hack your phone, they might even have been able to record you.

Who knows what this information can be used to do. Do any of us really trust the NSA that they're not going to use this data for nefarious purposes? How do we know that data will not pass into the hands of other people who do have nefarious intentions? We don't know. But it is crazy to think that one day we will all be monitored digitally and everything we do electronically will be kept in a permanent record and stored for centuries, long after we're dead.

I'm not crazy about this but I know the NSA probably thinks that if they don't do it, the Russians or the Chinese will. Heck, we have good reason to believe that they already are. It seems then that paranoia and technological innovation will inevitable lead to a world under total surveillance.

Watch the video below to get creeped out.


  1. What strikes me as even worse than what the NSA has been doing, and I think that is plenty bad already, is that we seem content to let it happen. The howls of outrage have been minimal in comparison to our various squabbles over political correctness. Why isn't this the biggest story of the decade? Why haven't we thrown the crooks out of Congress and the White House? Why are we so eager to surrender our fundamental privacy rights?

  2. It's said. I think it is because most people think "I'm a nobody, they're not going to spy on me." Most people are also preoccupied with entertainment and themselves.

  3. The Chinese corporation Huawei is suspected of conducting world-wide surveillance (for the Chinese government) with the electronic equipment they sell to unsuspecting customers. But with the cooperation of American corporations, NSA has much better access, including the ability to directly monitor the major data pipes that transmit internet traffic. You may be a nobody, but they see what you do anyway.



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