Banks, airports, and even your local Walmart. “Big Brother” is everywhere. We all know the government watches these locations to try and prevent crimes from taking place. With the rise in digital technology, the government is now able to access anyone via cyber-space. That’s right – the computer you use at home, the mobile device you carry with you, the government can get to it all. Since 9-11, US national security has expanded, starting with the Patriot Act, and moving to newer methods that include tracking your emails, your location, and even your social media accounts. But that’s not all, because the US is part of the Five Eyes network, they can ask ISPs for your online habits.
How They Track Users
There are several methods the government can use to track one’s internet activity. The most common method would be for them to issue a request or submit a warrant to one’s ISP for all logs pertaining to their internet activity. The same is true for sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other sites.
Next, the government has been known to contact third-party contractors whose purpose is to collect data on users from various sources. This ranges from collating web searches to tracking all of one’s social media activity.
The Department of Homeland Security also has the authority to monitor and conduct wiretaps without one’s knowledge. Most assume that this authority extends to online monitoring as well.
What They Are Looking For
What the government looks for varies but largely they are looking for information that can link someone to illegal activity. They are checking internet history to see if sites are being visited with connections to terrorist activities. Also, they may be checking for internet history that suggests one might be contemplating an act of terrorism.
Sometimes they are trying to predict patterns of behavior. For example, for those living in a racially charged area, internet activity may be monitored to identify whether users have a tendency to side with law enforcement or with protestors.
What’s the Big Deal?
Some users are of the attitude, “What does it matter if there’s nothing to hide.” The problem with this type of thinking is that they are giving the government an open invite to monitor every aspect of their daily lives.
If the average user were to think about their daily activities on the internet, will they remember any activities that might be questionable if misconstrued? Did they do anything online that they don’t want their kids or family members knowing about? If they don’t want their family knowing about their online activity, why would they want the government to track them?
What Can Be Done to Escape the Government’s Watch?
Those that are concerned about the government watching their online activity, should invest in a VPN connection. VPN is short for Virtual Private Network and it provides a secure internet connection that is safe from hackers and anyone that would want to monitor one’s online traffic.
When connecting to VPN, a computer connects to another server and all internet activity is filtered through that server. When connecting to a site through VPN, only the IP address of the VPN server is visible and the best VPN service providers block sites from being able to collect data from user computers.
Those considering a VPN service should insist on a VPN provider that doesn’t collect logs of any type, which is an indication that they operate in a country with zero internet restrictions. By checking out various VPN reviews online, one can find the best providers that can help them keep out of the government’s watchful eye.