The NSA and Electronic Privacy

In the summer of 2013, the phrase NSA became well-known to Americans of all ages thanks to a young whistleblower by the name of Edward Snowden. In short time we learned that the government collects and stores information on residents, often through methods that could be considered invasive to one’s privacy. Many people were shocked and surprised by the news.

Since knowledge is power, it’s important to know how the NSA collects their data. Knowing what items in your home can make you vulnerable will help you prevent unauthorized surveillance and data collection.


Every type of electronic device puts out a signal. These signals make the devices detectable to certain types of equipment. Once a device is detected, its signal can be intercepted by a third party. What does that mean to you? It means that any time you use your computer, make a call on your cell phone or even call into your voicemail, the government can tap into your device and effectively “listen” to what you’re doing.

Most of the time, the NSA just stores and saves the data it detects. The data is run through a mathematical program that generates data and helps target in on certain calls, internet searches and other activities that may seem suspicious. Sometimes, it’s just a certain pattern that will draw attention. Other times it’s connections between individuals that raise a red flag.

When the computer has enough data points, it can essentially predict which individuals pose a threat to the nation’s safety. That’s the essence of the NSA – using data collected without the knowledge of citizens to predict who will be a threat to the security of the nation. Once the threats are identified, the government can go to work to investigate and protect the population.

Privacy Concerns

While being safe sounds like a good thing, many people don’t like being listened to without their knowledge. Look around your home. How many devices do you have with a camera on it? Probably your phone and your computer. The NSA can tap into that camera and literally watch what you’re doing without you ever knowing it. It’s not just the NSA – hackers can also take over your computer camera and watch what’s going on in your home without you ever knowing that they’re doing it.

If you have children or elderly parents, you can see where that may be a concern. The vulnerability that these programs and technologies have caused have made many people cry out in outrage. Fortunately, by being aware and always vigilant of your electronic security, you can keep your family safe and thwart the voyeurs that want to watch your every move.

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