#1 The Federal Government Can Now Retain Your
Internet Activity For Five Years - Even If You Have No Links To
In the past, the National
Counterterrorism Center could only retain information about you
days if you did not have any links to terrorism.
Well, that has now completely changed.
Attorney General Eric Holder has signed new guidelines which will now
allow the National Counterterrorism Center to hold on to your private
information (including your Internet activity)
for five years.
But an extra four and a half extra years is no big deal, right?
#2 Potential Employers Are Demanding To See
Your Internet Activity
In the past, potential employers
would pull up the social media profiles of job candidates in order to
get a better idea of who they might be hiring.
But now, many potential employers are actually
demanding the passwords
to the Facebook accounts of job applicants.
The following comes from a recent CBS News
The bad news is that employers are increasingly
asking job seekers for
their Facebook and other social-media passwords as part of the process
of vetting them.
While it's unclear how widespread that practice is, there's plenty of
anecdotal evidence to suggest that it is happening with increasing
frequency, as CBS MoneyWatch's Suzanne Lucas
details. You can, of
course, refuse to give a job interviewer your passwords.
But expect your employment application to
hit the round file, or the trash, if you don't cooperate.
#3 Law Enforcement Is Watching You
Do you remember the father that
posted that "Facebook Parenting for the troubled teen" video that went
wildly viral all over the Internet earlier this year?
That video was watched more than 31 million times, but it also resulted
in both the
police and Child Protective Services officials visiting his
So be careful what you post on YouTube.
If you post something that they
don't like, law enforcement personnel may come knocking on your door.
#4 Government Agencies Are Watching You
The FBI, the CIA, the Department of
Homeland Security, the U.S. military and the Federal Reserve
announced plans to systematically monitor social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
These agencies have lists of "keywords" that they use to search for
posts that they want to look at.
For example, the words "attack", "exercise" and "epidemic" are just
three of the keywords that the Department of Homeland Security
So keep that in mind the next time you post something on Facebook or
The following is from a recent
In 2010, the DHS National Operations Center established a
Monitoring Capability (MMC). According to an internal agency document,
MMC is tasked with,
“leveraging news stories, media reports
and postings on social media sites… for operationally relevant data,
information, analysis, and imagery.”
The definition of operationally relevant
“media reports that reflect adversely on
DHS and response activities,” “partisan or agenda-driven sites,” and
a final category ambiguously labeled “research/studies, etc.”
#5 Barack Obama Is Watching You
The Obama campaign has launched
"truth teams" which will be scouring the Internet for any rumors that
are "not true" about
Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign.
So if you post something on the Internet about Barack Obama that the
Obama campaign does not consider to be truthful, there is a good chance
that a "truth team" will be examining what you have written.
#6 They Are Monitoring And Recording All
Talk Radio (Including Internet Talk Radio)
As I have written about
the FBI has hired a company in Virginia to systematically record talk
radio programs (including Internet talk radio programs) all over the
The goal of this effort is to collect
"potential evidence", whatever that means.
The following comes from an
article by Mark Weaver
If you call a radio talk show and get on the air, you might be recorded
by the FBI.
The FBI has awarded a $524,927 contract to a Virginia company to record
as much radio news and talk programming as it can find on the Internet.
The FBI says it is not playing big brother by policing the airwaves, but
rather seeking access to what airs as potential evidence.
#7 Foreign Governments Are Watching You
It isn't just the U.S. government
that is watching you on the Internet.
The truth is that governments all
over the world could be monitoring your Internet activity and you may
never even know it.
In fact, the level of Internet surveillance in some countries is
arguably even greater than it is in the United States.
For example, a new bill that has been introduced
in Canada would give government
authorities unprecedented power to monitor the Internet activities of
The so-called “lawful access” legislation, tabled in the House of
Commons Tuesday, will require Internet service providers and cellphone
companies to hand over basic customer information - including name,
address, phone number, email address, and ISP addresses - to authorities
when requested, without the need for a warrant.
Dubbed “online spying” by critics, the bill is also expected to require
ISPs and phone companies to install equipment for real-time surveillance
and create new police powers designed to obtain access to the
The UK government is going even farther than
that. A recent UK government report calls for ISPs to remove "extremist
material" from the Internet.
The following is an excerpt
from that report...
The Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit does limited but valuable
work in challenging internet service providers to remove violent
extremist material where it contravenes the law.
We suggest that the
Government work with internet service providers in the UK to develop a
Code of Conduct committing them to removing violent extremist material,
as defined for the purposes of section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
Many relevant websites are hosted abroad:
the Government should also therefore strive towards greater
international cooperation to tackle this issue.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is taking things even farther than
He recently stated that anyone in France that is caught regularly
visiting websites "preaching hatred" will be prosecuted.
So what constitutes "extremist material" and what constitutes "preaching
Unfortunately, almost every government on earth has different
definitions for those things.
#8 We Are All Being Encouraged To Spy On
One Another On The Internet
For the U.S. government, it isn't
enough just to have bureaucrats and spooks spying on you. Now they want
us to spy on one another.
The Department of Homeland Security has been heavily promoting the "See
Something, Say Something" campaign. The idea is that if you see
something "suspicious" that you should report it to the authorities.
Unfortunately, the definition of "suspicious activity" has expanded so
dramatically in recent years that it could include just about anything.
The paranoia among our leaders has gotten completely out of control.
example, a while back U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman requested that Google
install a "terrorist button" on all Blogger.com blogs so that readers
could easily flag "terrorist content" for authorities.
Thankfully nothing like that has been implemented yet, but that is the
direction that we are heading as a nation.
#9 Your ISP Is Watching You
Most Americans have not even heard
about this yet, but the truth is that starting later on this year your
ISP will be spying on you to make sure that you are not downloading any
SOPA and PIPA may have failed for now,
but the Obama administration has brokered a deal between the
entertainment industry and the major Internet providers that is
This deal will go into effect on July 12th.
The following is from a recent
Raw Story article...
If you download potentially copyrighted software, videos or music, your
Internet service provider (ISP) has been watching, and they’re coming
Specifically, they’re coming for you on Thursday, July 12.
That’s the date when the nation’s largest ISPs will all voluntarily
implement a new anti-piracy plan that will engage network operators in
the largest digital spying scheme in history, and see some users’
bandwidth completely cut off until they sign an agreement saying they
will not download copyrighted materials.
Word of the start date has been largely kept secret since ISPs announced
their plans last June. The deal was brokered by the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of
America (MPAA), and coordinated by the Obama Administration.
So be careful what you download on the Internet.
Your ISP will be watching.
#10 The NSA Is Watching Everyone And
It is safe to assume that any digital
communication that you ever make will be intercepted and monitored by
Of course this has been an open secret for years, but now the NSA is
taking things to a whole new level.
The NSA has been constructing the largest spy center in the history of
the world out in the Utah desert.
The following is how a
recent Wired article described this new facility...
Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the
blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security
Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex
puzzle assembled over the past decade.
Its purpose: to intercept,
decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications
as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and
undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks.
The heavily fortified $2 billion center
should be up and running in September 2013.
Flowing through its servers and routers and
stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication,
including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and
Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails - parking
receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital