Monday, July 15, 2013

Spy Nation

Is the United States of America spying on me? 

I really don't care. If they want to learn about me chatting with my friend in England, asking him about his kids, his business, they can go ahead. 

They can mine my data all they want. 

I highly doubt that American spies have much concern for my little slice of the world, not when there are eight billion other people they can spy on. Some of those eight billion people are, GASP, CRIMINALS!

It's a bit like Santa Claus, thinking that they are tracking my every movement is about as funny as thinking Santa has a minute to spend in every person's house in the world on Christmas. There is mind boggling amounts of data being transferred every second of every day.

I suppose, if they turned every single American into a data intelligence miner, they could spy on every corner of the world, gradually reporting interesting information up the chain to their superiors.

Or they could have a sophisticated internet program that tracks everything, mining key data words, and analyzing those words for threat cues, then cross referencing those people on other databases to see if they are a threat.

Now if they were to go by the book, they would hit on a few key words and think, hrmm, this is a possible threat. They would get their ducks in a row, gather more intel publicly available on the subject, like criminal history, violence tendencies, travel history, group affiliations, address, place of work, etc, etc.

Then they would spend many many hours writing several wiretap warrants, facebook production orders, email, etc, etc to dig deeper into this person's data. They would waste hours of a judges time reading the search warrants. Once approved, they would dig deeper and spend more hours monitoring the suspect person. Sometimes they might simply put the person's name on a list. Sometimes they might not even bother, false alarm. Other times they might gain reasonable grounds to determine that this person is in fact a terrorist, or a pedophile, or a major drug kingpin.

Or,

Instead of wasting hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of investigators and judges time writing search warrants and production orders - and subsequently billions and billions and billions of tax payer dollars, you could simply let the FBI, or the CIA, or whoeverthefuck protects us have access to suspect Facebook pages, and email, and other internet traffic that hits on their danger radar.

And they might be able to spy on you and find out how your sister just had a baby, and how you changed your status from 'in a relationship' to 'its complicated.' Or check out how much porn you download, your political views, and other mundane aspects that a person who has access to your data might want to know.

And if they stumble across this page, my page, hopefully they'll say - nope, not a threat, and move on to looking for a legitimate one. 

Perhaps the powers they use can analyze data transfer among pedophile rings, human traffickers, major drug dealers, and terrorists. 

Privacy - if you are a law abiding citizen, chances are the US government will never give you more than a second glance. 

If you are not, then perhaps yes, you should be upset at the powers that be. 

Isn't that a good thing?