by Mark Angelides
Living in the Western world, to some degree or another we have all accepted that a certain amount of the “Surveillance State” will intrude on our lives; but do you know the real depth of surveillance throughout the US and UK? You might be surprised. recent accusations against the Obama administration and their “wire-tapping” of Donald Trump may in fact only be “accusations”, but if we were to consider the sheer scale of day to day surveillance that takes place on almost every citizen, it would be extremely unlikely that he wasn’t at some point surveilled.
There are many forms of surveillance that are in use by government agencies, freelance Information agencies (under government contract), and private organizations (such as the DNC), and they all rely on identifying, targeting and gathering techniques to operate “successfully”. But recent surveillance has gone beyond this; now they gather, target and identify. It seems a subtle difference but the fact that now all information is collected and then sorted shows us that we can’t rely on basic privacy laws anymore.
The government now has laws that allow them to access your Smartphones, turn your cameras on an off, turn your recordings on and off and access all your stored data. Under the Remote Access Tools suite (RATS), as revealed by Edward Snowden and admitted by both US and UK governments, they can turn your phone on or off and use the tools for their purpose. Not only is your phone a gateway though; they can also access your thermostat, TV, refrigerator and any other “Smart” device.
This may sound like a conspiracy theory or fake News, but sources such as the Guardian, the Huffington Post and CNN have all run stories on this.
By May 2018, all vehicles in the US that weigh less than 4.5 tons must be fitted with “back-up cameras”. The law is in place because (as the party line goes), it could prevent up to 60 deaths per year. But here’s the point: mass transformation of a major industry to save a possible (not a definite) 60 people per year just doesn’t happen. If the government really wanted to reduce road casualties and deaths, they would push for laws that limit the speed of cars in built up areas (as all new cars are basically computers with GPS, this is not a fantastical piece of futuristic technology). Cameras (that can be accessed by the car’s computer, which in turn can be accessed by the government) will not make any real difference to “back-up deaths”. If a driver refuses to turn their head whilst reversing, why would they bother to look at a camera’s video screen?
Couple this with Wikileak’s Vault 7 release that government agencies can take over control of your car, and you not only have one of the most far-reaching surveillance programs of all time (covering every road and street 24 hours a day), but also the very real possibility of direct assassinations.
The Utah Data Center
The Utah Data Center (or the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center), collects data. Not just some data, but all data. Everything they can get their hands on. Your emails, conversations, medical records, bank details, messenger chats and anything else that can be transmitted electronically is being intercepted and stored for possible later use. It is a fully networked system that allows a user to enter your name (and associated names such as family or colleagues) and with the touch of a button, retrieve all the information. It is the largest and most comprehensive collection of data in human history, and its power can be wielded by any agency that requires in depth information on you.
Do you think there is data on Donald Trump in there? If not, he must be the only US citizen for which there isn’t.
*I use the term “data” to mean “a collection or set of data” which is the British form (data is/data are can be interchangeable depending on if you are talking about a specific collection).
by Mark Angelides