Proof of Mass Surveillance

Tracking Our Online Trackers
The author states that young generations today spend about 8 hours online a day. This source has less focus on government surveillance and focuses on how companies and organizations can use behavioral tracking. The speaker also talks about a new technology called collusion. This technology tracks the websites or databases that are tracking your online activity. In one day the speaker showed how over 150 websites almost all had no consent from him and many were not even sites that he had visited. $39 billion dollars are the top revenues for industries who use this tactic. This author focuses on how the businesses have started to track us and our habits with and without our permission and knowledge. He uses collusion as his main source and solution to show people how much we are being watched and a method in which we can control it.

Kovacs, Gary. “Tracking our online tracker.” Gary Kovacs: Tracking our online trackers | TED Talk | N.p., Feb. 2012. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

Government Survelliance– this is just the beginning
Authoritarian governments in other countries are buying surveliance capabilities to allow the governments to hack into individuals computer. Most governments don’t have the in house capabilities for this surveillance so they buy it from western companies. It can’t be proven that the US has bought these types of capabilities but there is an FBI team made specifically to hack into phones and laptops without the user knowing. When the government of Egypt fell 2011 activists raided police building and found documents on GAMA. The hacking team is a software for sale to governments that provides the capability to hack into persons of interest technology devices such as phone and laptop without being the subject being aware. It is being used to target Moroccan journalists. The argument is that the public needs to be aware of this new technology. There needs to be open and informed debates in order to control the threat against our freedoms. This could easily lead to abuse in power without close monitoring. If governments can hack into the bad guys devices then what is stopping them from doing it to us?

Soghoian, Christopher. “Government surveillance-this is just the beginning.” Ted Talk . N.p., Aug. 2013. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.


The Truth About the WikiLeaks CIA Cache
WikiLeaks released a large amount of information on March 7, 2017. They stated that the CIA has the software to hack into apps that we previously assumed were safe. The apps mentioned specifically were Signal and WhatsApp. However, in closer looks at the documents this proves to be slightly misleading. In the uncovered documents it never lists these apps by name or the specific ability to bypass such encrypted tools. WikiLeaks is not a completely trustworthy source because some of their claims have come from misinterpretation of the documents in haste to out them to the public. Another critique for this group is that it doesn’t take into consideration material that may be dangerous for the public to know. This article was written by Zeynep Tufekci on March 9, 2017. The basis of the article was on the new information released by WikiLeaks on the CIA’s ability to hack into our communication networks. It was written for the purpose of exposing and analyzing closely the information that has been uncovered.

Tufekci, Zeynep. “The Truth About the WikiLeaks C.I.A. Cache.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 09 Mar. 2017. Web. 4 Apr. 2017.

Edward Snowden

State of Surveillance
This is a documentary made in 2016 and takes place in Russia. The host is Shane Smith from VICE and his guest is Edward Snowden. It mentions San Bernadino which involved the government struggling to get access to the terrorists phone and then resorted to hacking into it. San Bernadino was the incident that gave proof to the boundaries the government is willing to overstep in the name of “safety”. Snowden claims that they have been capable of this for some time now. Snowden also performs in the video a dissection of the modern cell phone. During this he shows exactly how the government can hack into your own personal phone. Drones are also now being used on home soil, recently for civilian protests. The main argument is that these uses of technology are a breach on our constitutional right and must be stopped.

Top Documentary Films. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 4 Apr. 2017.

Government Opinions and Policies

N.S.A. Collection of Bulk Call Data Is Ruled Illegal
What does the Patriot Act specifically allow? Which of our rights are being violated?Congress has yet to make a decision about the fate of this top secret NSA program for mass surveillance. Even France is pushing for more domestic spying. The House of Representatives is formulating a bill that will limit the Patriot Acts reaches and keep it from violating US citizens rights. How will the USA Freedom Act fix the problems with the program while allowing the NSA to still do their jobs? Some argue that the USA Freedom Act is extremely detrimental to the NSA processes and that it will be nearly impossible to find valuable information on potential threats to the country. NSA keeps phone records going back 5 years. This program was started under President George W Bush in reaction to the 9/11 attack. Is bulk data collection constitutional, regardless of any laws made? The federal appeals court ruled NSA’s bulk phone record collection as illegal. This helps congress’s decision; whether to replace or extend the program without modification.

Weisman, Charlie Savage and Jonathan. “N.S.A. Collection of Bulk Call Data Is Ruled Illegal.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 May 2015. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

NSA Surveillance Divides the Republican Party
The faction of republicans under George W Bush is pushing for the continuation of mass surveillance. The opposing side thinks that this is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. The author is Conor Friedersdorf and this was written in response to the new debate that explores the legitimacy of the NSA and its tactics as constitutional methods of protection against terrorists. RNC has declared domestic spying illegal. The resolution calls for a blatant take down of the NSA. The resolution states “It declares NSA spying unconstitutional, insisting that it violates both the First and Fourth Amendments.” This shows both sides within the republican political party and also emphasizes how the 9/11 attack played a major role in the general public acceptance of mass surveillance.

Friedersdorf, Conor. “NSA Surveillance Divides the Republican Party.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.

Why is this important?

Why should we even care if the government is collecting our data?
This article was written by Rebecca J Rosen on June 11, 2013. This analyzes the argument of legal scholar Daniel J Solove in his book “The Digital Person.” She has two main arguments in her article. The first is“Kafka, not Orwell, can help us understand the problems of digitized mass surveillance.” Then she also creates her stance saying that the problem with mass surveillance doesn’t come from invasion of privacy, but more so from the power we are allowing our government to have over us. Solove dives into whether the problem with mass surveillance roots from the inhibition and social control (Orwell) or how the individual is denied control over how their data is used (Kafka). Other claims made by the author are that the argument many people use (“this is a violation of our privacy”) doesn’t seem to move people against the topic of mass surveillance. She also states that many people especially the average law abiding citizen doesn’t take many steps to keep such information secret. Her examples come from the 3 books she pulls arguments from; 1984 (George Orwell), The Trial (Franz Kafka), and The Digital Person (Daniel Solove).

Rosen, Rebecca J. “Why Should We Even Care If the Government Is Collecting Our Data?” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 11 June 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.

Privacy Online (Perspectives on Privacy and Self-Disclosure in the Social Web)
This source was edited in 2011 by Sabine Trepte and Leonard Reinecke, both of which are Professors in the Psychology department in the University of Hamburg (Germany). The publisher is Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. This book has many references each listed after every chapter. They used many researchers and other sources to back their claims and theories. This brings up many questions on whether social media should be more private or should they just be more open about what they are monitoring? I thought it was surprising that these media sites use our information as a form of currency. They trade their information on us with companies who use it to target potential customers.

Trepte, Sabine, and Leonard Reinecke. Privacy Online: Perspectives on Privacy and Self-Disclosure in the Social Web. New York: Springer-Verlag, 2011.

Commentary on Arrangement: My sources are separated into 3 groups. The first is on proof that this is a real problem in today’s society. This is an important part to start off with, because not many understand the extent to which this is happening in our own country. We need to acknowledge there is a problem before we can begin to move toward fixing it. This section is broken into three sub categories one being a general overview and the others being Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks two huge sources for confidential material that is unavailable to us.

The next section focuses on our policies in government today and what they say about this matter. This is important because we need to know what is being done to address this issue. So far the government has tried its best to ignore and even deny this issue, but lately some actual progress has been made. However, we must continue to push it otherwise the government will just swipe it under the rug again.

The last discusses how this is important to us. Many people after seeing the data and hearing about this in our government precedings are still unable to grasp what this could mean in their lives. This part helps put the problem in different perspectives for people. I can understand how some may not see this invasion of privacy as such a big deal. That was my stance before reading more into the topic. However now I understand that even though these programs were set up through good intentions it leaves a lot of opportunity for abuse of the power. It is a good way to wrap up the evidence shown before and hit the point home that we must keep a close eye on how this will change and affect our lives. Without action and awareness the push for change may come too late.