Intelligence Analysis: How Dangerous Is Citizen Dataveillance
by Bill Rounds
How to Vanish
by Bill Rounds:
How To Create an Anonymous Website
I have been
fascinated recently with the Washington
Post intelligence analysis by William Arkin and Dana Priest.
Both are well known journalists who have covered the military and
intelligence communities for many years. Realizing that something
had changed after 9/11, they dedicated two years to investigating
what the intelligence community had evolved into.
dug up the location of as many Top Secret facilities, both government
and private, as possible. Then took somewhat of a guided tour, gaining
access to several high ranking officials inside the Top Secret intelligence
community to explain and clarify what each agency does and how they
when they see the creatures the government had created not only
in size and scope, but in the amount of waste, redundancy, cost
and ineffectiveness. There are 45 different government agencies
with 1,271 subdivisions, all involved with intelligence. More than
2,000 private companies with government contracts provide some service
to Top Secret agencies. In total, there are over 850,000 people
nationwide who have Top Secret clearance working on intelligence
gathering, analysis, support, implementation, etc. The massive size
and scope of the intelligence community is larger than it ever was
during the cold war and is directed as much at targets within the
US as at targets abroad for the first time. They really have spared
no expense. The US intelligence community has effectively become
the “fourth branch of government.”
is clearly more shocked about the size and inefficiency of the creatures
which have been created. I am more concerned with how dangerous
these creatures inherently are and how difficult they are to control
by their very nature.
Real Danger Of The Intelligence Community
Post fails to point out the most dangerous part of this scientific
marvel that has been created. The judicial branch cannot act as
a check on the intelligence community because judicial review is
not required for almost any intelligence operations. Subsequent
prosecution for any illegal conduct is nearly impossible because
of the Top Secret nature of the evidence. The legislative branch
requires no accountability or measures of success to check and balance
the intelligence community with funding restrictions. The directors
of these agencies, appointed by the executive branch and confirmed
by the legislative branch, have admitted that the
system is beyond their control. Like a more dangerous version
of Jurassic Park, these intelligence agencies are vicious creatures
which have been animated, have escaped from their cages, and are
taking over the park.
community was so preoccupied with whether or not they could build
such a surveillance system, they didn’t stop to think if they
should. The fourth branch of government is the most dangerous branch
regardless of whether this surveillance and dataveillance of citizens
is justified or not and whether it is effective or not. The sheer
power and scope of this system allows unprecedented power over the
lives of individuals. Should someone in any of these agencies want
to exert control, no matter what the reason, the lack of accountability
and lack of supervision makes it possible.
Analysis Is Dangerous To Innocent Citizens
This kind of
organization, without control or accountability, attracts sociopaths.
Even if the intelligence agencies are benevolent in purpose, and
even if their function is benevolent for a period of time, they
will become infested with voracious velociraptors. Imagine the Corleone
family having just one database administrator in their pocket. The
inherent goal of anyone gathering this data is to manipulate it,
find patterns, and prove those patterns to be correct. These vast
collectors of information don’t want to be fed, they want
be no way for innocent people to protect themselves from being devoured
alive because US law prohibits citizens from protecting much of
their important financial and personal data. For example, the census
is a mandatory disclosure of information. It is likely possible
87% of the census responders who thought they were anonymous.
Where disclosure of data is not required by law, private companies,
which are regulated by government entities, are coerced into divulging
information about their customers upon request by the government
with a national security letter.
Irrelevant For Intelligence Analysis
The Post focuses
on whether the intelligence community is too big to be effective,
a legitimate concern. They also focus on the geography of the intelligence
community. Geography is irrelevant when it comes to dataveillance
and data aggregation and analysis. The most important information
tracked by these intelligence agencies is digital. Digital info
exists simultaneously in as many places as you want it to exist.
Your bank accounts and financial accounts are just a bunch of digits
in an electronic database. Your identity is just a few characters
and numbers in an electronic database. These velociraptors do not
need geography to feed on your data and they don’t need geography
to hunt you.
You Can Escape The Park (Sort Of)
Since Top secret
America is most concerned with data and information, one of the
most effective ways to avoid being devoured by the dinosaurs that
have taken control of the park is to control the data and information
that is traceable to you with Freenet.
Freenet is an open source (that means free) peer to peer network
which allows you to post information to the network completely anonymously
and acquire information from the network completely anonymously.
It will cost anyone, including the intelligence community, millions
of dollars per person to link information with identity on Freenet.
It will only cost users of Freenet a few minutes in time to anonymize
There are even
more robust tools in Freenet which allow you to create a network
among only trusted individuals. This creates even more protection
against the intrusive eyes of an out of control ministry of information.
It is one of the ways that
Chinese, Iranian and other citizens of closed societies are
able to communicate ideas and information without retaliation from
their most vicious predators. This prevents any tracking of information
to you unless a warrant is served to search an individual computer.
Post has done an excellent job discovering the scope and size
of the intelligence community that poses a greater threat to Americans
than Hitler, Russia, or Osama ever did. If defeating the threat
of Hitler, Russia, or Osama was made easier by using Freenet, would
you use it?
Surveillance of citizens by government, surveillance
of customers by corporations, private
transactional databases, government
transactional databases and other forms of search
without a warrant are dangerous to a free society. Also, be
sure to check out the new Privacy
Tools and Resources page posted on How To Vanish that contains
several intriguing videos about your privacy.
with permission from How to
Rounds, J.D. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting
from the University of Utah and a law degree from California
Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic
and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal
defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and
financial freedom and civil liberties.
© 2012 How
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