In recent weeks, outrage has poured out toward the federal government as an individual leaked information about how the NSA, or National Security Administration, has been secretly looking into social media accounts, Internet history and other data of specific individuals, without letting the different people know.
While the government has been ‘spying’ on individuals essentially since its inception, from the reading of mail during the Revolutionary War to the tapping of phone lines throughout the middle of the 20th century due to the Cold War to its present form, individuals feel violated about the government looking into certain accounts. However, you might wonder what exactly the NSA is collecting and where it is coming from. While it is impossible to know who exactly the NSA is looking into and has looked into, the exact data they are actually using, the Internet service providers Facebook, Microsoft and Google all released some general details towards what information the NSA has collected.
The NSA often looks at the records of an individual’s phone records. Basically, this is the information you might see on your monthly bill read out and it is no different from if you were to accidently drop your bill on the side of the road and have someone else pick it up. Wire tapping and listening into phone conversations isn’t something they generally do, although it is possible. As for the requested NSA information there is no listing of this kind of practice, although more likely than not the government does perform this action, in some shape and form. If you had your intelligence analyst degree you would know that they don’t care about your latest hairstyle or family gossip they used advanced technology that listens for certain keywords that would spark an interest.
You know all of those searches you’ve performed on Google over the last several years you’ve done? From how to bake the perfect pot roast to what those strange bumps are on your spouses’ feet, everything and anything you’ve looked up online is collected through Google’s (and other search engine’s) databanks. Your computer has an IP address stamp listed, so it is rather easy to follow what you have searched. The government can collect this information and is some of the data they collected
This is really no different than when the government went through letters before the time of the Internet (usually during war time) in order to make sure individuals were not receiving correspondence from Germany or Russia or Japan or other nations the United States has had issues with in previous years. With the email service the NSA can see basically everything you have seen, sent or received in your email account.
Basically, once you post something on your social media account it is public knowledge and it is impossible to delete it. This holds true with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and others. The NSA has collected everything regarding social media accounts from specific individuals, ranging from the messages shared, posts provided, images uploaded and even information deleted from the account. If it has ever been posted or received by you on the social media account the government is able to see it and has collected it from tens of thousands of individuals in the country (you could be one of these individuals, although statistically it is not likely).
The government has the ability to access basically any kind of information about you, ranging from your phone records to anything you do online. While this has proven a sudden shock to many individuals, truthful most governments have been ‘spying’ on citizens for the duration of civilization, and since the Internet is the latest form of communication it also proves the latest form of spying by the government for specific information.