The 9/11 attacks provided a convenient rationale for the massive expansion of government monitoring. Politicians and the spys claim they had no choice. They said “collect it all,” so now they track and record electronic communications from every citizen, business and other organization. Big Bro and his corporate collaborators can listen to nearly every telephone call and intercept every message that traverses the Internet.
Five Eyes and PRISM
The Five Eyes and PRISM networks are primary channels for worldwide data gathering. “Five Eyes” is an international espionage ring that was formed many decades ago. It gathers intelligence for the major English-speaking countries — the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
In 2007 Five Eyes secretly recruited the world’s major tech and Internet companies. This program, called “PRISM,” expanded Five Eyes’ data collecting. Now it is nearly universal. (Go here to understand the full scope of this government/corporate conspiracy.)
The PRISM corporations opened all customer files to Five Eyes, presumably based on a naive belief that universal message interception could uncover terrorists’ identities and plans. (Check out Privacy Protection for secrecy strategies that can destroy Big Bro’s snooping efforts.)
Big Brother Central
Five Eyes taps all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk. Government spys collect hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts. Five Eyes is also the “spy in the sky,” using location tracking to record the movements of hundreds of millions of cellphone owners.
In 2013, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that Five Eyes monitors the phone and Internet use of more than a billion people. While phone conversations are not normally recorded, the eavesdroppers can generally listen in on any call.
Because Five Eyes tracks almost all electronic traffic, we should assume that no channel is secure.
A Big Opportunity: Government-Corporate Collusion
Unlimited surveillance hasn’t exposed terror plotting, stopped attacks or slowed the spread of extremist ideologies, so the truth could be far different from what our leaders tell us.
Joined with the PRISM program, Five Eyes spying is more accurately characterized as government collusion with giant corporations using a highly dubious rationalization. Leaders say it’s a “national security necessity.” But the apparent goal is to compile unlimited quantities of information on every citizen. In practical terms, Big Bro’s surveillance probably achieves little more than massive data accumulation to serve the marketing and other information needs of international corporations.
(Continue reading about the surveillance menace at this link.)