Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How I Learned to Relax and Live With the Surveillance State

[hat tips -- Glenn Greenwald, Claire Wolfe and Prism Break, via Brad]

So yeah, OK, take whatever countermeasures you feel are appropriate -- use off-brand software, encrypt your correspondence, etc.

But keep one thing in mind:

If the government of the United States wants to know what you're up to, they're going to know what you're up to.

It really comes down to how interested they are in you.

If they're not particularly interested, you can avoid the putatively all-seeing eye, or at least stick a finger in it.

If they're really interested, all the countermeasures in the world probably aren't going to be enough to thwart them, because ultimately they can snake a fiber optic camera through the roof of your bunker and watch you type the stuff that they couldn't intercept because you used Tor, couldn't read because you encrypted, couldn't catch on the way because you stuck your computer in a Faraday cage to frustrate Tempest and scanned for and removed their keystroke logger.

Remember the old movies, where the spies met by the reflecting pool in DC, wearing slouchy hats to obscure their faces, and then walked while they talked to avoid bugs? That stuff wouldn't work any more, if they were really interested in what you were doing. They would track you to that there bench by the reflecting pool using GPS in your car and an RFID chip sewn into the lining of your coat, then train hi-def cameras and parabolic mics on your lips.

These guys make Orwell's Thought Police look like rank amateurs with primitive capabilities.

Horrifying? Yes. But also liberating. You no longer have to worry about whether or not they're watching you. You can just assume they are, and act accordingly -- which could mean letting it all hang out because hiding your lamp under a bushel isn't possible anyway, or making an effort to be so damn boring that they won't ascribe any importance to what they're seeing. And which most certainly means that those of us who are, for whatever reason, unlikely to be doing the stuff that they consider most dangerous should put off as much chaff and flare as possible to give the rest of you some cover.

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