We’ve been doing a lot of websurfing today, and we found a couple of excellent bits of research related to the NSA’s telephone metadata collection – a mass surveillance program that the Gestapo or KGB would have died for – that is being run by the US versions of those fine organizations: the NSA and FBI right now here in the “Land of the Free(TM)”. Perhaps you have heard about it?
These articles and illustrations speak for themselves, so we’re just gonna give you the links and let you draw your own conclusions. The first one comes from Kieran Healy, Associate Professor in Sociology at Duke University and the Kenan Institute for Ethics. He weighs in with a humorous/chilling essay on what might have happened if the British way back during the American Revolution had the capabilities the NSA (and the British version of the NSA, the GCHQ) have now. He shows how even a simple analysis of the membership rolls of several important groups of American revolutionaries…
can quickly lead to the identification of their most important members, like Paul Revere and Joseph Warren…
[Source for both graphics: kieranhealy.org, “Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere”]
The second very instructive article (and its accompanying animation video) shows just how revealing the collection of someone’s cell phone metadata can be. In this case, German Green Party politician Malte Spitz sued German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom to cough up six months of his cell phone metadata in order to demonstrate the privacy implications of cell phone data collection. Working with the German magazine Die Zeit, he created this video showing how the collection of cell phone location data alone can reveal a great amount of personal information about anyone who carries a cellphone. Look at how all those cell phone towers light up as Malte Spitz drives by! Ping! Ping! PingPingPingPingPing! Cool, huh?
Still not worried about what the government is doing with your private information? That’s OK. You just go right back to sleep and focus on how you’re going to pay for all those holiday gifts you bought with your already over-extended credit cards, you innocent little debt-slave, you!
Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago