People 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.