Skip to comments.The US Government Today Has More Data On The Average American Than The Stasi Did On East Germans
Posted on 10/05/2012 7:07:19 PM PDT by RobertClark
We've written plenty about how the US government has been quite aggressive in spying on Americans. It has been helped along by a court system that doesn't seem particularly concerned about the 4th Amendment and by the growing ability of private companies to have our data and to then share it with the government at will. Either way, in a radio interview, Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin (who's been one of the best at covering the surveillance state in the US) made a simple observation that puts much of this into context: the US surveillance regime has more data on the average American than the Stasi ever did on East Germans. And, of course, as we've already seen, much of that data seems to be collected illegally with little oversight... and with absolutely no security benefit.
To be fair, part of the reason for why this is happening is purely technical/practical. While the Stasi likely wanted more info and would have loved to have been able to tap into a digitally connected world like we have today, that just wasn't possible. The fact that we have so much data about us in connected computers makes it an entirely different world. So, from a practical level, there's a big difference.
That said, it still should be terrifying. Even if there are legitimate technical reasons for why the government has so much more data on us, it doesn't change the simple fact (true both then and now) that such data is wide open to abuse, which inevitably happens. The ability of government officials to abuse access to information about you for questionable purposes is something that we should all be worried about. Even those who sometimes have the best of intentions seem to fall prey to the temptation to use such access in ways that strip away civil liberties and basic expectations of privacy. Unfortunately, the courts seem to have very little recognition of the scope of the issue, and there's almost no incentive for Congress (and certainly the executive branch) to do anything at all to fix this.
Just rummage around in this FLEA website, and discover many of the wonderful things our FLEAs and LEOs are learning, in order to better protect and serve us.
It’s quite eye-opening, to say the least.
Since we are paying their salaries and they work for us, I’m sure they won’t mind us exploring their various current citizen surveillance programs and classes.
Basic Incident Response to Digital Evidence Program (BIRDE)
Computer Network Investigations Training Program (CNITP)
Covert Electronic Surveillance Program (CESP)
Covert Electronic Tracking Program (CETP)
Digital Evidence Acquisition Specialist Training Program (DEASTP)
Digital Photography for Law Enforcement Level 1 (DPLE1)
Digital Photography for Law Enforcement Level 2 (DPLE2)
Internet Protocol Camera Program (IPCP)
Introduction to Digital Evidence Analysis (IDEA)
Macintosh Forensics Training Program (MFTP)
Mobile Device Investigations Program (MDIP)
Recovery of Evidence from CCTV Video Recordings (RECVR)
Seized Computer Evidence Recovery Specialist (SCERS)
It would probably be too complicated for your little libertarian heady to comprehend.
I just want to...see Chuck Berry
The Tom Clancy readers probably know...
Just think: All that “intel”, effort, money, training, etc, etc, etc, and 19 idiots here on expired visas still did all that damage on 9/11. Nothing has changed. We still let in those that wish us harm and fail to track or deport them. This is all nothing but mental masturbation and way to spend boatloads of taxpayers dollars.
I’ve been through various urban SERE type schools and know what real professionals can do to track someone, so this is all nothing but silly games. It isn’t going to get real until people’s lives are at stake if they fail to win such games.
Meanwhile, they have purged every mention of “jihad” or “islam” from their PC-vetted courses, (and replaced them with “tea party” and “right-wing militias.)
(...speaking of "one-way trips"...)
They look like gremlins from the 1984 movie!
They look scary
Wonder if Bruno can tell which finger I’m holding up right now.
The French were horrified by what had happened in Spain from 1936-1939 with Stalin’s support, and were terrified of Communism. They wanted neutrality in WWII (to the point where they killed American troops - allied with Stalin - landing in French North Africa in 1942), and law & order in the meantime - which they got. Unlike Spain, they didn’t have 7,000+ priests killed, their churches burned to the ground, and their landowners and business owners massacred.
People today have no idea how tumultuous Europe was in the years leading up to WWII, with Communists trying to overthrow most governments and reactionaries fighting to suppress them; Americans learn about it through the prism of our experiences alone. Europe was filled with evil people who just wanted to kill others; it was filled with desperate people watching their way of life being destroyed.
Correction: Europe WASN’T filled with evil people who just wanted to kill others
I’m sorry, your Majesty, SaraJohnson....but your hubris is showing.
What is amazing is how many Americans volunteer private data on Face Book, other social nets and filling out surveys asking personal info to get a discount or to be nice.
One of my favorite tv program is Person of Interest. In one of the tv stories, the guy who invented the “machine” which monitors all that we do, say on phones or on the internet dropped a bomb that many of us knew.
He said at first getting the personal data on people was hard to do until the Social Nets came out. Then people haven’t stopped giving private data to be out in the open.
I went on face book due to a friend who wrote her first book, a couple of friends making wine and some fishing buddies. I dropped out after about a week due to people I barely knew or didn’t want to know, who wanted to be friends.
A younger relative and his wife, both with advanced degrees in computer stuff about 5 years ago started warning everyone they knew not to fill in personal data to get a Safeway card and other so call benefit cards. Their concern was simple. People were filling in info that data miners could extract. Their examples were clear and simple. Most of us have one mother with one maiden name, one best friend in highschool, one fav color. If you fill in that data to get a so called benefit, data miners can get that data.
If I fill in anything, my Mother’s maiden name was/is Claus. I was born 12/25/1900. My best friend was Rasputin, and my favorite color is Puce. The first country, I visited was America.
I just use FB as a “fan page” for selling books. I don’t put any personal data on it beyond my region being north FL.
One of my goals with writing “What I saw at the coup” was to put the danger of Social Network Analysis being used as a purge tool out into the open. The KGB, Gestapo, Stasi etc never had such dangerous tools. They had to purge tens of thousands to be sure of getting a few enemies.
SNA will allow future tyrants to dial the purges down to an acceptable and almost unnoticable level. Even the selective use of deniable means such as “Breitbart’s Syndrome” could be an option.
You and I remember how a few Freepers like us after 9/11 pulled the covers aside to reveal how the Islamos had training camps by Fresno, in Oregon and in the Virgina/DC area.
We did that with our limited computers and search platforms.
One can only imagine Data Mining the SNA’s with powerful computers and search programs.
Kudos to you for addressing this reality in your book and here.
“If I fill in anything, my Mothers maiden name was/is Claus. I was born 12/25/1900....”
My zip code is 01776, patriotic as heck. It’s somewhere in Massachusetts, but whenever I am asked for my zip code, that’s what it is.
Thanks. My next novel is set between Ireland and Morocco with a sea jihad theme. I will be hitting all of those notes very hard.