Although mass surveillance has made the world safer especially when it comes to the internet why do I feel paranoid everywhere I go in public and whenever I use the Internet to do research I hate being watched like this 24/7/52 also the Feds make me fearful one wrong move and I could be black bagged cuffed and taken away.
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You are not unjustified by your concern. Since the passage of the 2001 “Patriot Act,” there has been considerable concern about American citizens’ privacy, especially regarding their online and phone behavior. Basically, if the government thinks you might have a connection to terrorism in any way, it has carte blanche to access your files and possibly prosecute you. They can wiretap your phone or other device without telling you, and they can do the same monitoring your Internet browsing behavior.
Furthermore, there is increasing surveillance of our streets, airport security is a hassle, and it is probably not far off that they will demand we all have chip implants.
Because computers are easily accessed remotely, and so much is stored on “the Cloud,” it is feasible that government agents could plant incriminating evidence into your files, then get a warrant, “discover” it, and arrest you.
Scary times. Or so it would seem….
Fortunately, there are still laws made to protect Americans like you and me. The Fourth Amendment protects you against being searched without a warrant:
U.S. Constitution Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Also, US v. Katz 389 US 347 (1967), a U.S. Supreme Court decision, said that the government cannot eavesdrop on your communications, except in narrow exceptions that must be specifically explained by law.
Now, there is something called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that provides for the government to spy on citizens regarding communications with foreign entities, but the government still needs a court order to do so.
But the government tries to get away with shit all the time. That is when organizations such as the ACLU get involved and defend citizens’ rights and the Constitution.
Do not be afraid to defend and stand up for yourself, getting an attorney if needed. The government is supposed to serve the people, not vice versa.
At any rate, I sincerely doubt you are doing anything of interest to the NSA. Also, you are not being watched 24/7. There simply is not the time or staff or budget in the government to watch everyone do everything. Like any other investigative work, they rely on tips and leads to target suspicious activity.
But if you are concerned, here are some programs that can help shield you from nosy people:
1. Signal (https://whispersystems.org/) encrypts your text messaging and phone calls.
2. Tor Web Browser (https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en) makes it harder to follow your web activities.
3. 1Password (https://1password.com/) helps you keep lots of passwords safe and makes it so you don’t have to worry if you forget a password.
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