The problem is not, that they can watch you exchanging intimacies with your love interest. In the public, on the street, you’d probably shy away from intimacies, but Uncle Sam belongs to the family, right?
The problem is not, that they can watch you share secrets with your love interest, which you would never share with your parents. Because… maybe you are an exhibit.
The problem is not, that Uncle Sam has shut down the NASA, but left the NSA fully operational.
The problem is, that the NSA tries to use every possible way, to gain tons of data, store them in one place and connect all the data. They are sabotaging the development of software and security software by building in backdoors or by influencing the developers to build in weak safety measurements.
It’s software, which is not only used by John Doe, but maybe by nuclear power plants and banks. Through this security holes Intelligence of other countries and hackers can - for example - easily gain access to a nuclear power plant in Iran and blow up something in it. Something like that just happened some months ago in Iran, thanks to Stuxnet, a product of American Intelligence.
Also don’t forget about your money the next time you do online banking. Because it’s an easy game for them to fake certificates for SSL connections. Or just manipulate one of the updates of your OS, to monitor your actions on the PC. Not that they would need to do that, to gain information about your account data.
Passwords are useless (except for password with more than 15 characters), because they are encrypting passwords since 10 years and saving them as hash. That enables them to compare your password, which is visible as hash, with their databank.
On the other hand, hackers who find such security holes, are arrested as criminals. At least in my country.
They are destroying the already weak security infrastructure of the internet and the economical potential of the internet for America. People who make their money with innovative technologies and secrets are working on getting independent from American software and cloud-storage - at least here in Europe. However, the NSA will be pleased that European politicians will do nothing against Intelligence.
Every step you do in the world and on the internet is observed. It’s not hard for them to create a profile of you. Are you clicking often on links related to stomach pain? They probably have a diagnosis for you, before you have a clue. They know what and how you think. And maybe one day they are going to use your identity for their own purpose and then get rid of you. Or maybe they are going to influence you, to vote the guy who they think is the right one.
You know, on the street, that your smartphone is sending your position data, your mic is probably on, hearing all your words, your camera probably taking pictures every 2 seconds. On the internet, every click is going to define how the Intelligence sees you. Even today, it’s not like as if you could click on a link without thinking, that someday the content of the link could be turned against you.
The total observation potential of the Intelligence and the insecurity, whether you are observed doesn’t allow a democracy to work as imagined. The freedom of speech is worth nothing if you are not able to be anonymous.
But not only could John Doe be influenced like that. Fact is, that they observe diplomats, politicians (of other countries) and spy on the economies of other countries, probably stealing their technology. Let the puppet game begin? One could begin to wonder, which of the daily stories, happening on the world, is just charade.
The world will change for sure. I can already see the new cold war in cyberspace arising. But maybe after getting rid of monarchy, dictatorships etc., it’s time to get rid of democracy. Or do you want to pass a brain scanner on the airport, which will check your thoughts for weapons or vicious thoughts in a few years?
However, I think, that mass surveillance is a chance, not a crux for humans. Since thousands of years nobody complained about god watching us on the toilet. So the problem today seems to be the power a few humans have over so many others. The solution might be an omnipresent AI which just collects data, analyzes it and store it. So after a crime happened, more than one person has to ask the AI to give them all data connected to the crime. It also could warn us of imminent threat.
Source: Spiegel.de, New York Times, The Guardian, heise.de