If you use Tor or any of a number of other privacy services online or even visit their web sites to read about the services, there’s a good chance your IP address has been collected and stored by the NSA, according to top-secret source code for a program the NSA uses to conduct internet surveillance. There’s also a good chance you’ve been tagged for simply reading news articles about these services published by Wired and other sites. This is according to code, obtained and analyzed by journalists and others in Germany, which for the first time reveals the extent of some of the wide-spread tracking the NSA conducts on people using or interested in using privatizing tools and services—a list that includes journalists and their sources, human rights activists, political dissidents living under oppressive countries and many others who have various reasons for needing to shield their identity and their online activity.
The NSA Is Targeting Users of Privacy Services, Leaked Code Shows | Threat Level | WIRED (via alexsegura)
Well, I’m fucked.
Of course, I’ve known that for years, but still….
Actually, think about this. Your desire for privacy means you are inherently suspect. Think about that.
And no, I don’t want to hear the, well, if you have nothing to hide it shouldn’t matter argument. That’s bullshit. What is being described is an illegal search, if not an illegal search and seizure. What is being described is the act of making you, me, her, him, all of us suspects for what we read, what we write, what we say. Phones. Computers. Emails. All of it.
I’ve got a friend of many, many years who has served as one of my major technical advisors for my writing. Mostly, I call him when I’m working on a novel and I need some arcane bit of knowledge about personal protection or military procedure or similar.
I remember, when I was writing Smoker, he and I had a conversation where I was trying to figure out how the bad guy could assassinate their target. And that conversation revolved about how to make an IED and how it would be possible to conceal the bomb in the location in question. There were some technical details we discussed that I made a point of not including in the novel. I do my research, but I don’t write manuals; I want plausible, not necessarily possible.
And we were talking about it, and we both paused, and laughed, and then he said, “Hello, Mister NSA Analyst. We’re working on a book, don’t mind us.” And we laughed some more.
Not that funny, now. Not when you look at the proceeding paragraphs and you see how many trigger words I just wrote. I put them in bold. But you’ve probably figured that out.
And somewhere, there’s a machine that just counted up all these mentions, and logged my IP or whatnot, and put it in a file.
If that’s supposed to make me sleep more soundly, more safely at night, it ain’t working.
It’s doing the exact opposite, in fact.
And if it isn’t doing the same to you, consider this, just for a moment:
If you favorite or reblog this, you could end up in a file, too.