June 14, 2013
The idea that someone is listening every time you pick up your cell phone is scary enough, but a recent report by David Knight makes it alarmingly clear that someone, somewhere, is watching every single move you make. Short of removing yourself from the grid and buying yourself an invisibility cloak there’s literally no way to escape the prying eyes of the feds.
After learning last week that the National Security Agency (NSA) had been using data-mining techniques to monitor cell phone and email communications between millions of American citizens, you might have been outraged for a moment, or maybe even a day or two. But then, if you’re like most Americans, you thought, “Well, I don’t spend much time on my phone or my computer anyway, so they’re not talking about me.”
Rest assured – they most certainly are talking about you. And they’re monitoring your activities in ways you probably don’t even realize.
In a June 14 report, David Knight discusses the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a program which tracks purchases of drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone as well as other drugs ranging from anti-anxiety medications to sleeping pills. All purchases are sent to a database and the information is used to help shut down pill mills and to prevent patients from “doctor shopping.”
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Well, I don’t live in Florida, and even if I did, I only purchase drugs for legitimate purposes and only under the supervision of my physician, so again, this doesn’t apply to me.”
First, the names and personal information of everyone who purchases these types of drugs in Florida – even if it’s with a legitimate prescription – are entered into this database.
But what’s most important to understand is that it isn’t just your cell phone or email or prescription purchases that you need to be concerned about. It’s everything you do that’s connected with a database or a network, and that covers just about everything we do these days.
Currently sitting on President Obama’s desk is a proposal that would require companies to build into their network structures the capability for the federal government to automatically tap into the system and collect information.
This is a crucial piece of legislation. Currently, companies are asked to comply when the feds want access to a database but if the company isn’t technologically able to comply then the feds can’t force them to. However, with this new legislation, all companies will be required to build the necessary systems into their networks. If not, they face fines of up to $25,000 per day.
Still think these “privacy issues” don’t affect you? Then consider all of the databases and networks that currently hold your own name and personal information – your bank, your physician and your pharmacy are just the tip of the iceberg.
If you have a library card, you’re in a database. If you have a savings card from your local grocery store, you’re in a database. If you have credit or debit cards, you’re in a database. If you have a security system in your home, if you have OnStar in your car, if you belong to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or any other online social network, if you use a workout monitor that’s connected with the Internet to track your weight loss goals, if you belong to a gym, Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig, if your child attends a school, if you’re a member of a church … the list is endless.
Now, think of all of the reasons these various companies and services have your name in their database. At the very least, they’re recording your personal contact information. But most are tracking other personal user statistics, like what time you’re home, where you went over the weekend, and what you bought at the hardware store.
If your name is on a list somewhere and that list is eventually loaded into an electronic database or onto the Internet, then someone, somewhere, is constantly watching you and when Obama signs this new legislation the feds will automatically have access to that information.