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The Internet is a surveillance state

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posted on Mar, 16 2013 @ 11:36 PM
Hello again ATS!

This is a subject that I have created quite a few threads about - never mind trying to even begin putting a total upon the number of individual posts I have made regarding this over the years. To me the issue of cyber-privacy is the most long lasting and important issue of our time. There are other, shinier issues that come and go and which have much more of a mass appeal factor. But few, if any of those will have a long term impact in the same way that cyber-privacy will.

Bear this in mind, as it merits it. I am 46 years old and was born into and raised in a society where the government just listening into a single phone conversation without warrant could make national news. It didn't matter if the target was a Mafioso, mass-murderer, drug-dealer, or whatever the case might be. People became very, very upset whenever they heard about Uncle Sam snooping where the law wouldn't allow him to.

Now, fast forward a couple of decades. We've got an entire society that is accustomed to being spied upon. We all know it is going on. Hell, we all know that it is no longer even isolated to the Government. Now it is fair game for our employers, our banks, our ISP's, our cable companies, our video rental supplier, our computer operating system creators, our department stores, grocery stores, gas stations, friends, neighbors, family members, and even the grease pit we stop at to pick up a burger for lunch - the one that offers "free WiFi" to do so too. Just stopping at a traffic light in most towns is, you guessed it, a chance to be spied upon and recorded.

Everyone is spying on us, for a myriad of malicious and selfish reasons - all day long, every single day. And we tend to just shrug it off as "normal".

What happened? What made a society that was vehemently opposed to surveillance suddenly, over just 20 short years, become apathetic and complacent about the issue.

Of course that question is rhetorical and the answer is easy to peg down. Our love for the Internet did it. We were seduced by little windows that popped up and told us that providing just a little totally anonymous information would make our experiences much faster and enjoyable. Just some harmless and very specific things about ones computer, or general geographic location - all in the name of ease. That sucked us into the door. It opened us up to the very next step, which was "GREAT NEWS! No longer do you have to deal with those annoying windows asking for information! We've now created things that will store and provide that information instantly and automatically! WE'VE MADE THE INTERNET EVEN EASIER!!!!"

Most kids today can't understand the generation that made these easy-out choices because most kids today have had it rather easy. They've grown up in a "plug and play" world - one where they've never had to master telephony, configure a winsock, or open up a DOS shell and learn programming on the fly just to get their computer to function - often barely. I am not taking away from the amazing things that kids today can accomplish. I am just saying that if you put most of them in a room with an old 386 machine and an early copy of Windows or DOS they'd have the same sort of tantrums that many of us wound up having. The difference was that we did not have the option of giving up and moving onto the 64 bit machine running in the other room. We were stuck having to make those horrible things work - whether we liked it or not.

That is why we were ripe for plucking with the word "Easy". Hell, even Staples still markets to us with their commercials and advertisements. We were THAT traumatized by the 1970's-1990's computers.

This all leads us up to the article I just found, on CNN, that sums it up - and from which the title of this thread is taken. Please look at these snippets and take the time to read the article. I believe it is an important issue:

(CNN) -- I'm going to start with three data points.

One: Some of the Chinese military hackers who were implicated in a broad set of attacks against the U.S. government and corporations were identified because they accessed Facebook from the same network infrastructure they used to carry out their attacks.

Two: Hector Monsegur, one of the leaders of the LulzSac hacker movement, was identified and arrested last year by the FBI. Although he practiced good computer security and used an anonymous relay service to protect his identity, he slipped up.

And three: Paula Broadwell,who had an affair with CIA director David Petraeus, similarly took extensive precautions to hide her identity. She never logged in to her anonymous e-mail service from her home network. Instead, she used hotel and other public networks when she e-mailed him. The FBI correlated hotel registration data from several different hotels -- and hers was the common name.

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we're being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period....

Sure, we can take measures to prevent this. We can limit what we search on Google from our iPhones, and instead use computer web browsers that allow us to delete cookies. We can use an alias on Facebook. We can turn our cell phones off and spend cash. But increasingly, none of it matters.

There are simply too many ways to be tracked. The Internet, e-mail, cell phones, web browsers, social networking sites, search engines: these have become necessities, and it's fanciful to expect people to simply refuse to use them just because they don't like the spying, especially since the full extent of such spying is deliberately hidden from us and there are few alternatives being marketed by companies that don't spy.

And welcome to a world where all of this, and everything else that you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant.

Welcome to an Internet without privacy, and we've ended up here with hardly a fight.


Wise words from a seemingly wise man.

We began by agreeing for a few cookies and some information that made life easier. Now we live in a world where anyone, from the Feds to Wal Mart can access private information and use it against us, whether to prosecute us or prey upon us. The digital devices that we carry with us everywhere leave a footprint that anyone with a desire can access and analyze.

It's a frightening though to know the government can do this. But to know that private interests can and do participate in it on a large and wholesale scale? Well it's time for us to redefine some things.

Maybe we do need to go back to dial up networking, configuring Winsocks, and monochrome monitors. Is having Youtube handy really worth seeing the Fourth and Fifth Amendments - and our expectation to reasonable privacy simply evaporate?

Thanks for reading.


posted on Mar, 17 2013 @ 12:35 AM
It's tantamount to the USPS opening, reading and copying every piece of private mail. Ironically, snail mail my be the most secure communication for low-level operatives.

I'm on Facebook. The relationships I maintain, and the info I get outweigh any negatives, for me. I put it out there, but try not to show off, cars or houses or whatever. I'm proud to have minority friends too.

Laws should have been in place to protect reg people by forcing files and tracking deletes, but nah. Our government works for corporations, and vice-versa.

posted on Mar, 17 2013 @ 08:10 PM

I agree that "internet privacy" does not exist. With enough time & resources, anyone can be found. Any network can be accessed. And most people don't care about their privacy....which, naturally, helps propagate the intrusion into our lives even more.

However, let me say that there are those out there who have become very talented at using the system against itself. They have managed to stay on the "anonymity" bandwagon. Albeit is a small select group.... Don't think that it is impossible if you have a need, commitment, and dedication to stay so....

posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 12:15 PM
that is why the darkweb or tor / onion sites were created.


posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 08:57 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

I think you just overloaded the CNN server with view requests for that page. It took me quite a while to connect.

Our love for the Internet did it.

I say this was a key factor as regards the creation of the technical infrastructure and capabilities that makes the surveillance state possible, but it wasn't the one that made it happen. You see, building those capabilities cost money. The point of spending all that money was to make a whole lot more of it, and that meant commercialising the internet.

It happened pretty fast, didn't it? I came late to the net, but even I can remember when most things on the internet were amateur productions of one kind or another, and people told each other that information wanted to be free. How long ago was that? Fifteen years? All gone now.

It wasn't easy to do, either. Remember how people struggled to create business models that could generate revenue on the internet? Most failed. Internet stocks led the market collapse of 2001. But the entrepreneurs got there in the end, because we helped them.

It wasn't so much our love for the internet as our love for a good deal, a free offer, added convenience or the chance to indulge various forbidden pleasures that did it. All those things, in fact, that good consumers just cannot resist. And in exchange for all that, we pay them with information, and most of the time we don't really care. The surveillance state operates in a community of habitual, if inadvertent, nudists.

edit on 19/3/13 by Astyanax because: of some nonsense I wrote.

posted on Mar, 19 2013 @ 02:41 PM
In about 20 years you wont get a job if the opinion you may have posted on the internet differs from what you should think, because the company or institution will just buy a very precise summary made by algorithms about you. They will know everything you said, ordered, watched, heard or uploaded. You ordered medicine over the internet? You are sick? Good Luck.

Think before you write stuff on the internet. It won't forget you!

posted on Mar, 22 2013 @ 08:37 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

I remember having to basically reconfigure my entire computer just to try and play a new game that had just come out....OFTEN.... I'm right in your same age range, so I feel ya...

Excellent observations, and yeah, I think the current generation really has no idea of privacy. At the same time, I think we as a society basically did away with it. How many kids plaster everything they do on facebook or youtube? A completely different world.

posted on Mar, 22 2013 @ 06:53 PM
the internet is just awesome, and shouldn't have controls placed on it

posted on Mar, 22 2013 @ 06:58 PM
though torrents are a bit of a concern

posted on Mar, 22 2013 @ 06:58 PM
just imagine being an artist or record company worker trying to make money these days

posted on Mar, 22 2013 @ 06:59 PM
then again, musicians should be out doing more shows

posted on Mar, 22 2013 @ 07:03 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

Heff, I always read your threads and rarely comment on them.
This one I just might lay a line down or two because I agree with you 110%.

Of course the Internet is a surveillance state, or entity...
Not only have we allowed it to become one, we have embraced it.
Just like you said.

But who is to blame?
We are.

We have become much to reliant upon conveniences to expedite our everyday lives.
Literally, because the use of online shopping, networking, and banking makes it much easier to get everything else this culture obsesses with accomplished and then some.

I, just like you, don't see it getting any better.
The kids are used to it; practically uploading their entire lives "online" for all to see.
And for what? Popularity?

I guess this world wants people to think it's one big popularity contest.
So it's anyones game to watch.


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