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Snowden: Be Careful What You Google

August, 2013


Celebrity superspy and whistleblower Edward Snowden recently leaked to The Guardian, the most important information on NSA spying so far - the NSA program 'XKeyscore' that records most people's internet activity.

The XKeyscore program has search engine type features that allows an NSA data analyst to track people by their names, IP addresses, telephone numbers, and nearly any identifying phrase or code.

So, be careful what you google...etc.

Feds Visit Family Who Googled "Backpacks" and "Pressure Cookers"

With the algorithms the government is using, your innocent searches like "Pressure canning recipes" or "Where to buy organic fertilizer" or "back packs" aren't innocent.

Michelle Catalano and her husband were the targets of a visit by federal officials based on nothing more than their Google history. While the NSA is fervently denying that they are collecting information on average citizens, an early morning knock on the door of this family’s home says otherwise.

Catalano, a writer, told the story on her blog:

"Most of it was innocent enough. I had researched pressure cookers. My husband was looking for a backpack. And maybe in another time those two things together would have seemed innocuous, but we are in “these times” now. And in these times, when things like the Boston bombing happen, you spend a lot of time on the internet reading about it and, if you are my exceedingly curious news junkie of a twenty-ear-old son, you click a lot of links when you read the myriad of stories. You might just read a CNN piece about how bomb making instructions are readily available on the internet and you will in all probability, if you are that kid, click the link provided… 

…What happened was this: At about 9:00 am, my husband, who happened to be home yesterday, was sitting in the living room with our two dogs when he heard a couple of cars pull up outside. He looked out the window and saw three black SUVs in front of our house; two at the curb in front and one pulled up behind my husband’s Jeep in the driveway, as if to block him from leaving. 

Six gentlemen in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles and spread out as they walked toward the house, two toward the backyard on one side, two on the other side, two toward the front door….“Are you [name redacted]?” one asked while glancing at a clipboard. He affirmed that was indeed him, and was asked if they could come in. Sure, he said. 

They asked if they could search the house, though it turned out to be just a cursory search. They walked around the living room, studied the books on the shelf (nope, no bomb making books, no Anarchist Cookbook), looked at all our pictures, glanced into our bedroom, pet our dogs.

They asked if they could go in my son’s bedroom but when my husband said my son was sleeping in there, they let it be. Meanwhile, they were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked. 

They searched the backyard. They walked around the garage, as much as one could walk around a garage strewn with yardworking equipment and various junk. They went back in the house and asked more questions. 

They mentioned that they do this about 100 times a week and that 99 of those visits turn out to be nothing.

Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb? My husband, ever the oppositional kind, asked them if they themselves weren’t curious as to how a pressure cooker bomb works, if they ever looked it up. Two of them admitted they did."

What would have happened to the Catalanos if they’d refused to answer questions which is their Constitutional right? They mentioned that they do this about 100 times a week and that 99 of those visits turn out to be nothing." right?

What if they had denied the feds entry which is also their Constitutional right?

What if the husband had asked, with his morning cup of coffee in hand, “Do you have a warrant?” Chances are, the visit would have turned ugly.

Under Obama's NDAA National Defense Authorization Act, any American citizen can be arrested and imprisoned "indefinitely" and without trial under reasons of "suspicion".

Everywhere you go, you are photographed and recorded. Everything you do is analyzed, watched and judged. No matter how independent you think you are, the "all seeing eye" is looking down and watching you, profiling you and breathing down your neck.

Some people have chosen not join social networks. They use proxy servers and search engines that claim to be private. With Snowden's recent revelations, that just isn’t enough. In fact, guarding your privacy makes you an even bigger suspect. The algorithms of the XKeyscore program are designed to “prove” the guilt of anyone that the federal government wants to target.

But don't worry. All this spying and surveillance has nothing to do with population control and a world government agenda. The NDAA, the surveillance, the spying, the cameras everywhere, the radiation from airport scans and the erosion of your constitutional right to privacy is for your own good. It's protecting you. Remember...we must GIVE UP our freedom to PROTECT our freedom.

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