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The United States of Surveillance

There’s a monster on the loose

It’s got our heads in a noose

And it just sits there—watching.

        —Steppenwolf (the rock group)

Big Brother is watching you; he’s also listening, sniffing, recording, and analyzing.  His private little brothers—everyone from major corporations to your doctor and your local grocer—are also snooping on you nonstop.

At this point in the development of technology, you should assume government agencies at all levels are recording everything you do electronically, and much that you do that’s not electronic, such as walking across the street.  There are two reasons this has happened.  The first is the decline in the government’s respect for the Bill of Rights, especially since September 11.  The second is Moore’s Law, which posits that computing power doubles every 18 months.  Government and private databases that hold all the information about you have become so cheap that they’re a minor budget item.  Camera powers are increasing at a similar pace, allowing them to be as unobtrusive yet intrusive...

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