Do you like your privacy? Probably. Well, we hate to be the ones to break it to you…but privacy doesn’t exist. At least not anymore. And it’s unlikely to ever return. Why? Because everything you do is trackable. Of course, the National Security Agency (NSA) takes most of the heat for spying and invasion of privacy, but there are thousands of government and non-government groups in the world doing the same thing. Today we’re going to learn a little bit about 25 creepy ways the NSA spies on you and maybe understand more of the pros and cons.
The PRISM program requires internet services like Facebook and Google to pass information on to the NSA. And yes, this includes emails. If you've ever heard the name Edward Snowden and wondered why he's a big deal, he was the guy who leaked detailed and classified information on this program, among others on this list.
According to the Patriot Act, the US government is allowed to obtain business records that they deem relevant to terrorist investigations.
The government is allowed to gather information on every call made in the US, including the number dialed and even how long the call was.
Think hacking computer systems is only a civilian operation? Okay, well most of you probably know better. Tailored Access Operations (TAO) is the NSA's hacking unit. It has developed numerous ways to break into various devices.
TAO consists of over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers as well as intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer and software designers, and engineers.
The unit prefers to tap into networks rather than isolated computers because there are usually numerous devices on a single network.
The stated objective of TAO is to identify, monitor, infiltrate, and gather intelligence on computer networks used by entities outside the US
The TAO's motto is allegedly "Your data is our data, your equipment is our equipment - anytime, any place, by any legal means."
The NSA has coerced numerous manufacturers into intentionally building vulnerabilities into their products
The NSA is known to intercept shipments of various computer products and build backdoors into them
Various governments use submarines to attach snooping bugs to the massive underwater cables that carry internet data from continent to continent.
Deals with various financial institutions allow the NSA and government agencies to track your purchases
It is possible to triangulate your position by using cell phone towers, even if you aren't making any phone calls.
Even if you try to mask your internet use via something like TOR, you won't escape government surveillance. The NSA has ways to track you, even on the deep web.
Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DSI) or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the NSA focuses on gathering SIGINT, or signals intelligence, rather than gathering information from human sources.
The NSA stores and analyzes the data of over 1 billion people around the world.
It is possible to track you by using the metadata from your cellphone
Even the pictures you post online have information attached that allows you to be tracked.
Five Eyes is an agreement between the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to share intelligence data
The NSA along with its Five Eyes allies aren't the only ones spying though. While they receive most of the attention, there are dozens of other countries around the world employing similar means.
Russia, China, even North Korea all have very advanced intelligence agencies with the ability to track and monitor people around the world.
Although there are numerous lawsuits against the NSA and other allied signals intelligence agencies, there are numerous agencies that operate in the dark, especially in countries where human rights are lacking.
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely prevent yourself from being tracked. In fact, as the world becomes more connected it only becomes easier to track people.
Even if the NSA were shut down and the US government stopped all tracking, there are numerous other actors that would fill the gap.
Cyber warfare and signals intelligence are the future of warfare and spying. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop this as more and more of our lives are connected to the internet.
Featured Image: pixabay (public domain)
25-1. pixabay (public domain)