posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 09:05 PM
There is a lot of monitoring going on, but I think of one analogy off the top of my head that is quite fitting.
A grocery store has lots of cameras, and casinos have even more, enough to make a photo studio blush. The more cameras you have, the more people you
need to 'watch' the cameras. Casions employ armies of security personell to accomplish the task. The feds are understaffed. There aren't enough
warm bodies to do the work, nevermind professionals allocated and trained properly. The relevant agencies realized this years ago, and stick
primarily to software, letting human analyts act like quality control inspectors, except they only pick up every 1,000,000th porck chop to see if it
has a worm in it.
The software does the lions share of the work, and the software is pretty smart. It gives out false postitives, but they apply progressive filters to
reduce the incidences. In short the cameras are on and nobody's watching. If you're really worried about being monitored, switch to a cable modem,
it's harder for them to break up, analyze, and re-insert data into the stream. I think on cable lines they just troll for big fish, huge data dumps,
suspicious money transfers, high load anonymous users, that sort of thing.
I'm pretty sure the real threats talk in code when they need security, or they meet in person, they don't blabber their secret plans over the
internet. Probably a lot of the caseload being assumed by the DOHS are conspiracy theorists, amateur hackers, stoopid kids on library computers, all
the regular stuff the FBI guys love to waste a day on, driving out to the sticks to check up on a guy with 18,000 red flags on his carnivore file.
'That guy' almost always turns out to be some curious, unsupervised teenager or aging anti-war hippy. The agents develop a good nose for danger
after a while, and if you look remotely like the other 200 folks they've interviewed this year, they'll probably be cool and give you the benefit of
the doubt. Racial profiling is alive and well, I'm sorry to report. If you're an arab, a muslim, or an emigrated African you will have problems
with even a few red flags.
NSA is hardnosed but they have a lot of stuff on their plate right at the moment, and I don't think they would bother to send agents unless you were
suspected of trafficing in classified military hardware or something. The SS is most likely to come to your door, they often investigate and conduct
interviews on the weight of a single threat to the president or his staff. Sometimes they'll conduct interviews based solely on uncorroborated
testimony from a third party. Of course the up side is that most government folks are just folks like you and me. They have families, beliefs,
religions, hobbies, etc. They aren't out to get you. If anyone is out to get you, it's their boss' and their boss' bosses. Realistically of
course, they don't have the time to screw over many of us individually, they prefer to act in broad strokes of law and war to cull the defiant herd
(no stampede, but we do moo a lot and shuffle in place).