The National Security Agency was created on November 4, 1952 under Harry S. Truman. For twenty-five years, only the people involved knew of the existence of this secret agency. In fact, the NSA was so secret even the name was classified — most of the people working for the agency didn’t even know the name of the organization that employed them. Now, of course, the NSA is a staple for conspiracy buffs and thriller writers, though the truth is even spookier than fiction.
In 1980, way before computer usage was common, way before surveillance devices had become as sophisticated as they presently are, the NSA monitored 400,000 calls a day. 146,000,000 calls a year. And that was thirty-two years ago. Today, there are no limits to what the NSA knows or can track
Although their activities might still be secret, the NSA is now far from being a secret organization. They almost seem to delight in showing us their strength as witnessed by the two billion dollar facility they are building in Bluffdale, Utah. This Utah Data Center will be fully operational before the end of 2013, and then the last vestige of our privacy will be gone.
John W. Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute says: “At five times the size of the U.S. Capitol, the UDC will be a clearing house and a depository for every imaginable kind of information — whether innocent or not, private or public — including communications, transactions and the like. Anything and everything you’ve ever said or done, from the trivial to the damning — phone calls, Facebook posts, emails, bookstore and grocery store purchases, bank statements, commuter toll records, etc. — will be tracked, collected, catalogued and analyzed by the UDC’s supercomputers and teams of government agents. In this way, by sifting through the detritus of your once private life, the government will come to its own conclusion about who you are, where you fit in, and how best to deal with you should the need arise.”
It’s possible that the mass of information itself will protect us. One piece of information is worthless. When there are trillions and trillions of bits and bytes out there, why single out one from another? A collection of information, however, could be damning, depending on what light the NSA chooses to view it under. What if they put the pieces together and came up with a version of you that simply isn’t true?
(Incidentally, that originally was the premise of Light Bringer, but the book metamorphosed away from the NSA and their supposed interest in poor Philip’s life, and focused instead on an international organization’s global agenda.)
Have you ever wondered why your attention is kept focused on such unimportant matters as what outrageous thing today’s celebrity-of-choice is doing, what wonderful new gadget is on the market, what the fashion gurus are presenting, what foolish thing the president said or did? It’s sleight of hand to keep you focused on the trivial while the world as you think you know it slips away from you.
Even worse, as Whitehead says, “Whether or not the surveillance is undertaken for innocent reasons, does not surveillance of all citizens gradually poison the soul of a nation?”
And you thought Facebook was bad.