How absurd does the government have to act before citizens stand up and take notice?
Is the government the biggest threat to our so-called private lives? Power and control are on the top of the government’s to do list and the fact that today’s care-free reality is changing may be bitter to swallow. We understand the government can find out our personal information in a flash, but our personal lives?
In this economy civilian criminals are everywhere, but we should also be aware of another potentially nefarious entity out there, Big Brother. Unseen devices are tracking us at home, at work and in our transportation. Even if you are not a criminal you may be on the government’s radar. No longer will a spy need to go undercover or break into your home to plant a bug. Today’s technology is creating a cunning link to our personal domains. We have our exclusive information and pictures in government agencies, banks, phone companies, libraries, schools, travel records, credit cards, traffic violations, hidden cameras and online purchases. New technology has made it that much easier for someone to track us. This is nothing new, however some of us may be brainwashed into thinking it is okay.
The almighty rulers of our country are getting more astute at monitoring our digital footprint. Check out the following lengths the government is going to spy on us.
1) In Your Face: Social Media
Facebook has become a social tool and venue for people to share what is basically a visual diary. Facebook and Google offer face recognition where you assign a name to a face and a clever database finds those faces and tags your name to it. Dont check your common sense at the door, the average person with a Facebook page puts up very personal information and forgets to create privacy settings. You know when your friends are on vacation and see where you are or were when you posted. You can reveal your relationship status, your job title, what you did and where you were from the time you were born to present day. A one-stop-shop for the government to spy on you!
2) You’re on Candid Camera
Prototypes are being made up of in-store billboards, made with technology typically used in security surveillance. When you walk in the store the billboard memorizes your face recording the products you commonly purchase. A video billboard for Forever 21 (clothing company) in Times Square features women interacting with pedestrians. They take pictures of actual people on the street or pick them up (digitally) and they suddenly appear on the giant screen.
3) Big Brother is Watching
The rise of technology means easier access for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on us. Many televisions purchased today are connected to the internet. Each time you download a Netflix movie or use Pandora to listen to music it is recorded in a database far, far away or as close as Utah (see #9).
4) GPS Obsessed
Does it surprise you that your iPhone can be tracked via a GPS device? The GPS chip in your phone can enable the microphone remotely so the government can hear and record your conversations. For over decades the government has had devices that track where you were when you called. This feature has only become more sophisticated and visual in the past five years. These handheld computer phones keep users connected and reveal to the world exactly where and when you posted that update about celebrating your 30th birthday at Mastro’s Steakhouse. If you used your iPhone, iPad or iPod to take a picture of your car for sale parked outside your home then posted it on Twitter you have publicly disclosed where you live.
5) Where Your Vehicle Goes the Government Knows
Get your own vehicle tracking device in one click, it’s that easy. A small device magnetically placed in the undercarriage of a vehicle becomes a way for officials to monitor private citizens. No warrant needed to place it on your ex’s vehicle.
6) Eye in the Sky
Satellite cameras can take images anywhere on the surface of our planet. Google Earth, a free to the public online software, allows a view of your back yard. As if having a world-wide spy camera wasn’t intrusive enough the government may be using these sophisticated civilian surveillance satellites to remotely harass and violate targeted citizens.
7) Suspicious Activity Reporting (aka Harassing Law-abiding Citizens)
Imagine you are visiting the Mall of America and you take out your camera to take a picture of their enormous indoor water park. Think twice before you put up that YouTube video of little Jimmy on the water slide, you may find the FBI at your door. Taking pictures, video or notes in public places are protected under the rights of the first and fourth Amendments however it doesn’t stop mall security from walking up to you, detaining you as they interrogate and collect all of your personal information to be sent to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies where it could stay in their files for years to come.
8) Our Rights are Changing. Probable Cause?
The Bill of Rights states, “People have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizes.”. This law is becoming obsolete. Actions we took for granted like pulling a phone out of our pocket or filming our kids are now just cause for violating what used to be protected by our Amendments. The Man is taking the US Patriot Act seriously. Written in 2001, it states, “The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.” How do you balance security and citizen rights?
9) New NSA Center Targets Email and Cellphones
Almost too staggering to recount the National Security Administration’s actions these days the NSA, ( Not Saying Anything) department apparently has a bottomless budget to build a bigger than life facility in Utah just to house sophisticated spy communications. Every word we say and every image we put out into the universe is collected and put into an enormously sophisticated database where it will be sorted and deciphered.
10) Digital Sensors
Some may argue that cameras are keeping us safe, however as you walk out your door there are many places that record your image on camera without your permission. For example, the Kinect accessory for Xbox is another facial recognition device allowing you to start and play a game only using your face and voice. It is also conveniently connected to the internet so you can play with other players. Microsoft claims it is not spying on you, but they could if they wanted to.
Want to find out if the Government has already been spying on you? Request your own FBI file (if you have one) with this easy form.