Total Information Awareness

(Please note, because of the time that has passed since I wrote this article, it may no longer reflect my current views or the most accurate and complete information available on this subject.)

Typical Saturday Morning in ChicagoPeople sometimes ask me how much I think "The Government" is really listening in on our phone calls, e-mail messages, web browsing, text messages, and other forms of communication. I still apparently surprise people with my answer: for the purposes of my day-to-day life, I assume that every communication I send or receive using an electronic medium is monitored and recorded by someone else. And I'm not just talking about watching some rough meta-information go by and trying to deduce what we're up to - I'm talking about full access to the content of every single communication, in real time.

Recent media reports, including a March 10th article in the Wall Street Journal, show us how much information spy agencies are allowed to legally collect and monitor:

  • Recipient and sender address, subject line, timestamp of e-mail messages
  • Internet sites visited and searches conducted
  • Incoming and outgoing numbers dialed on cell and regular phones, length of calls, where you physically were when a cell phone call happened
  • Pretty much everything about your financial transactions

Makes you wonder what's actually happening beyond the law's provisions. Again, I'll generally assume the worst.

2 thoughts on “Total Information Awareness

  1. i trust your sense about this stuff. not only is the legal stuff appalling, but we also know that illegal searches and spying are happening all the time, too!

    what do you think the most devious thing they've read/listened to in your communications would be?

    mine would probably involve bill kristol, doug bennett, and whipped cream. or raunchy flirting (usually just for fun).

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