Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork.
—Part I, Chapter I, Nineteen Eighty-Four
The National Security Agency (NSA) has a wing that spies on Americans. They have guidelines which allegedly safeguard American’s Fourth Amendment rights but the guidelines are secret.
They are also building the largest spy center in the world in Utah. It will contain information about every person and his/her communications in this country and elsewhere.
Some data will come from drones, surveillance videos, and streetlights. Still other information will come from archived Internet data, phones and everyday electronics.
Spies will be able to watch you through your phone, TV, radio, appliances, and any Internet-connected device.
Prior to becoming CIA director, General Petraeus said, …if you use an app, you are actually bugging your own house.
Last year, Petraeus said that “web-connected gadgets will ‘transform’ the art of spying – allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.”
Petraeus also said that processors and web connections will be added to previously ‘dumb’ home appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and lighting systems. ‘Items of interest’ will be ‘located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters’ and they will all be ‘connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.’
Whistleblowers have sounded the alarm about the NSA and the potential for Constitutional abuses.
They described one program already implemented – Stellar Wind.
Stellar Wind was a dragnet surveillance program which harnessed information on hundreds of millions of Americans in violation of the law (the program is described at 2:10 in the video).
The NSA kept all the information, claiming they might need the data in the future for some reason.
The NSA can share this information with the FBI who can then use it to charge Americans with crimes (domestic and international surveillance are merged).
This whistleblower’s account is very interesting:
video via Current TV, before it became Al Jazeera