Privacy is dead: So what if you friended the NSA?

Privacy is dead: So what if you friended the NSA?

Summary: The National Security Agency is better than Santa Claus. It knows when you're sleeping. It knows when you're awake. It knows when you've been bad or good. Not that most Internet users will care.

SHARE:

I'm not sure what annoys me more: That the National Security Agency can tap into every major Internet service and telecom carriers and monitor everything you do online or that I just can't get wound up about it.

facebooknsa
The NSA: A friend you didn't know you had.

The National Security Agency (NSA) can analyze all your online data, reports the Washington Post. The NSA also has backdoor access to Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Skype and Apple to name a few. In other words, the NSA has the knowledge of just about everything digital. Naturally, the NSA program has been a secret---and now even some of the companies involved are denying knowledge of the data analysis effort.

In the tech world, the NSA's actions are a big deal. Privacy doesn't exist! Gasp! Oh the horror of the realization that the U.S. isn't much different than China or any other country that will monitor your behavior.

Why do I have a hunch that after a few Congressional hearings and blowhard legislators trying to score points that this will be forgotten?

Sure, there could be brand risks to the companies involved, but what are we really going to do? Are we really going to refrain from using Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Apple products in the name of privacy? Of course not. Hell, most of us drooling shiny device object loving fools share everything anyway. Let's face it: The NSA is no different than that jackass you can't remember and friended anyway.

nsaslide
Slide via Washington Post.

 

So what if the NSA can monitor what you do? Considering most people can't figure out Facebook's privacy settings my dog can monitor you too.

Do I sound cynical? You bet. The government does that to people. Overall, this NSA disaster isn't all that surprising. The Internet is the new phone line, which oh by the way has been tapped by the NSA too.

What's next? Pols everywhere will scream about the NSA. There will be hearings. Politics will be played. As for the rest of us, we'll go back to doing what we did before. Share, overshare and communicate like nothing happened. Monitoring isn't so bad as long as you accept privacy doesn't exist. We're all public figures. Just ask the NSA.

More:

Also see:

Topics: Government, Privacy, Tech Industry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

20 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • what is new here?

    Governments have been spying on their citizens for millennia. This is not news and any society that existed long enough is well aware of this practice.

    Is it that most people in the US happily lived under a rock until now? Your government is no different than any other and considering you let it play with powerful toys, they will likely do more wrong. Praying that they will do only good will not help. Believing they never do bad is the most naive of it all.

    But, life is short. Yours and theirs.
    danbi
  • No viable alternative

    People will vote with their feet if they have a viable alternative (yes, there might never be one). If a provider located in a country with an excellent reputation for protecting privacy offers competing services to what's available here a lot of people will shift to it. Maybe a Swiss version of Facebook?

    Most people do not like the idea of Big Brother watching them.
    MajorlyCool
    • Really?

      I don't think most people care anymore. That is the problem. That is why the public has been enabling this kind of surveillance for years now in many ways, chief among them the use of Facebook at all, since Zuckerberg does NOT care about your privacy.

      Now as if that wasn't bad enough, the few who do still care about government surveillance turn a blind eye to the same abuses when it is private corporations that do it. So Larry Dignan's 'cynicism' is warranted.
      mejohnsn
  • You just don't get it, do you?

    First of all, I've never friended any jackass I don't remember. The people I do friend, I always know personally, but unless they bring me something of value to the table, they get unfriended once they prove to be a jackass.

    Secondly. To take a saying from the healthcare side, when it comes to the government and you, "Nothing about me, without me." In other words, the Privacy Act applies to every single bit of information the government has or collects. They have to state what they want, why they want it, and not collect it without your chosing to opt in. EVERYTHING that violates that premise constitutes misuse of your personal information.

    Thirdly. The government has means far beyond what any private or commercial entity has for data collection and analysis, including our "friends" at Google. That means they can make connections that provide vastly greater amounts of information on you than anyone else can do. Which means they have a vastly greater opportunity to misuse that information to your detriment.
    Dr_Zinj
    • You just don't get it, do you?

      But I bet he gets sarcasm.
      MasterBillyQuizboy
  • Which is worse Ignorance or apathy

    Most people
    ccs9623
  • Re: Which is worse Ignorance or apathy

    I don't know and I don't care
    MikeBytes@...
  • Sad

    Just what do you want this country to turn into? It is people like you who have let things get as far as they have and who don't care if it gets worse. Tell me how far do they have to go before you say enough?
    tocool37
    • No, it is much worse than that

      The whole US has been sliding down a slippery slope from democracy to oligarchy for years. The loss of privacy is only one aspect of this disastrous downhill slide.
      mejohnsn
  • We have met the enemy ...

    and he is us. (Thanks Pogo.) We all know that if ANY President failed to stop a terrorist attack, and the LEGITIMATE reason for that failure was that he/she did NOT violate our privacy to thwart the plot, that President would be held accountable for NOT KEEPING US SAFE. Presidents of both parties know this, and they know that our rage as a result of violating our privacy is MUCH LOWER. We will not demand our privacy against government spying AT THE COST OF OUR SAFETY. When this situation is reversed, and politicians of BOTH parties agree in public that this is the case, the switch will be turned off.
    jallan32
  • People who trade freedom for security deserve neither

    NT
    Burger Meister
    • What Freedom Did You Give Up, Exactly?

      Other than scale, what has the government done that any number of internet companies, banks, credit reporting agencies, data mining companies, etc., etc. don't do "to you" every day?

      If the next bomb happens to blow up your loved ones - and I by no means wish that on anyone - would you be content to mourn the lose and not rail about that "they" didn't see this coming, how "they" didn't connect the dots?

      If so, good on you. I'm not that way. I want every possible dot collected and the most powerful and sophisticated data mining tools brought to bear to - hopefully - prevent, or if that doesn't happen, to track down those responsible and those who aided and abetted them.
      Lazarus439Z
  • Sheeple

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin
    Still true today.
    philwhite42@...
    • Ben Does Not Apply

      If the Franklin quote applied, there would have been an 11th amendment in the Bill of Rights - the one about a right to privacy. Look carefully - there isn't one.

      There are so many entities collecting data on everyone, the government is just one more. They are bigger, to be sure, but working to defang attacks on citizens of this country is a lot more acceptable undertaking than serving up the next personalized ad that overlays the web page I want to see.

      After 9/11, the government was, rightly or wrongly, blamed loudly for "not connecting the dots" which, with the tools at hand at the time, was probably only possible with a movie script writer or 20/20 hindsight.

      Well, guess what? Before you can connect the dots, you have to COLLECT the dots and then employee every last analytical tool there is do the connecting.

      I am far, far more annoyed about Google, et. al. using MY activities on the web - which is pretty much unavoidable these days - than I am with the government using everyone's activities to prevent death and destruction of my fellow citizens.
      Lazarus439Z
      • Ben Does Apply

        There is no need for an 11th Amendment. Franklin's principle are explicitly in the 4th and 5th Amendments and certainly implied in several others in the Bill of Rights.
        RaulYbarra
  • It's official

    It's the end of the world as we THOUGHT we knew it. It's only a matter of time now before our world becomes like "1984" in the sense that we can have our SOULS destroyed just for THINKING the wrong way.
    donnie126_2002@...
  • Wireless, encrypted mesh networks

    Like bitcoin, only for communications. The technology isn't there yet, but it's coming.

    Somebody comment on this - can the NSA crack what they can't find?
    ClearCreek
    • Who says they can't find it?

      Making unfounded assumptions, are we?
      Lazarus439Z
  • Sigh...

    You mean to tell me that the NSA is "advertising" that they monitor all traffic through the top 10 internet giants?
    If you are doing anything drastically wrong or illegal, wouldnt you just stop using those services so you wont get caught?
    The only thing now the NSA can do is spy on the conspiracy theorists, and other controversial organizations, and patsy their a$$es as terrorists. This is pathetic.
    On a different note,
    I can see it now:
    "Sir there is not much activity going on"
    "Keep spying, something is bound to happen!"
    the next scene is from South Parks Reverse Cow Girl Episode where an officer is sitting in a CCTV room viewing everybody's activity on video with a bottle of lotion.
    debsid
  • Comment 2237.8_pfd3

    The NSA only works outside of the USA. None of this is true.
    We don't care about you or your tax problems, or you associations with shaddy people.

    All is well, go back to sleep
    NSAagent868