Anthony Gucciardi
December 24, 2009

It is rather evident that we are indeed living in a surveillance society.

New laws and regulations continue to emerge that enable the police, our public servants, to make privacy a thing of the past. The Orwellian laws allowing such actions are passed under the guise of fighting terrorism, or preventing another terrorist attack. If anyone is to question the Constitutionality of these laws, they are labeled a terrorist and asked what they are trying to hide.

The “what do you have to hide mentality” that is so prevalent today creates the false perception that anyone who questions the police has something to hide. The reality of the matter is that many people are upset with the ridiculous amounts of surveillance being used on the public. The introduction of “Ghost Cars” to sneak up on drivers using their cellphone only highlights the outlandish surveillance system that is currently being put in place. More intrusive technology is also making its way to a nearby street, with head-mounted cameras being introduced to police in San Jose.

[efoods]If you thought head-mounted cameras and incognito cars were bad, then you’re in for a shocker. In Britain, all telecoms companies and internet service providers are required by law to keep a record of every customer’s personal communications. This includes who they have contacted, when it happened and where it happened, and all of the websites they have visited. These companies are being required by law to spy on the people. It’s not simply suggested, it’s mandatory.

That isn’t all. Yahoo has recently come under fire after the website Cryptome posted Yahoo’s Compliance Guide for Law Enforcement. The guide is 17 pages long and details data retention policy as well as surveillance capabilities offered to law enforcement. According to Kim Zetter of Wired magazine, the guide includes information relating to the retention of IP addresses and Yahoo instant message logs. The IP addresses of users are reportedly kept for one year, and the Yahoo instant messenger chat logs are retained for 45 to 60 days. This also includes the user’s friend list and the time that each conversation occurred.

When presented with the information, it is rather evident that we are indeed living in a surveillance society. While it can seem overwhelming, there still are many victories had in courts around the United States. Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court declared that cops need a warrant to search phones. Perhaps this will cause a ripple effect with other states? As soon as people realize that the surveillance put in place is being used on them, and not terrorists, they will be concerned. It is our job to educate them.

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