Since the erosion of Americans’ civil liberties depends on high levels of public apathy, some of the most dangerous privacy breaches take place incrementally and under the radar; if it invites comparisons to Blade Runneror Orwell, then someone in the PR department didn’t do their job. Meanwhile, some of the biggest threats to privacy, like insecure online data or iPhone GPS tracking, are physically unobtrusive and therefore easily ignored. And it’ll be at least a year or two until the sky is overrun by spy drones.
So when a method of surveillance literally resembles a prop or plot point in a sci-fi movie, it helps to reveal just how widespread and sophisticated commercial and government monitoring has become. Here are five recent developments that seem almost unreal in their dystopian creepiness.
The Senate concludes that when all the privileged details of the investigations were considered, there was no sign that the pricey data centers were successful at fighting any known terrorist plot.
So what did the data centers accomplish? According to the panel the legacy is mostly negative. They claim the Fusion centers — whose objective is ostensibly to share national intelligence with state/local law enforcement and analyze potential terrorist threats — in the end mostly ended up violating U.S. citizens’ civil liberties.
Americans’ personal privacy is being crushed by the rise of a four-headed corporate-state surveillance system. The four “heads” are: federal government agencies; state and local law enforcement entities; telecoms, web sites & Internet “apps” companies; and private data aggregators (sometimes referred to as commercial data warehouses).
If recent documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) are any indication, the Occupy Movement continues to be monitored and curtailed in a nationwide, federally-orchestrated campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Privacy is eroding fast as technology offers government increasing ways to track and spy on citizens. The Washington Post reported there are 3,984 federal, state and local organizations working on domestic counterterrorism. Most collect information on people in the US. Here are thirteen examples of how some of the biggest government agencies and programs track people.
By granting firms who share information broad immunity from other provisions of law, Congress may be effectively changing any number of other statutes. Dempsey described it as a “blunt instrument,” and warned it could become a loophole for circumventing any number of important privacy protections.