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For most Americans, it is virtually impossible to escape scrutiny, surveillance and investigation by the government. Nearly every action, financial transaction, Internet browse and travel habit is capture by various systems, analyzed for for patterns and — if a “pre-defined” pattern is found — referred to law enforcement for investigation.
When you use a credit card to buy a tank of gas for your car, the date, time, plate and amount is forwarded automatically by your bank or credit card company to a massive computer located in an unmarked black-faced building at 3801 Fairfax Drive in Arlington, Virginia — headquarters of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) — and from there sent to the National Security Agency, FBI, Internal Revenue Service and other government entities.
The video that captures you filling that tank at your local service station is also available to government, as is vicdeo from traffic cameras and other location. When you stop by an ATM, the details of your transaction becomes immediately available to the government. The image of you using that ATM may be transmitted as well.
The public has been assured several times that this system — known as Total Information Awareness (TIA) — was never implemented and was shut down. An investigation by Capitol Hill Blue found that is a lie. DARPA and the NSA put the system into full operation several years ago and it continues to function today with the full knowledge and support of the Obama White House and select members of Congress. The name has been changed — slightly — is now called the “Terrorist Information Awareness System.”
Congress eliminated funding for TIA in 2003 but DARPA simply moved the project into the Pentagon’s “black bag” secret ops program which does not have to report openly to Congress. Only members of House and Senate intelligence committees, which meet behind electronically protected closed doors — know the system still exists.
When you buy your next tank of gas, the system looks at the previous purchase and establishes a travel pattern. Same for an airline ticket, train ticket or subway system “smart card.”
When you talk on your cellphone, listening posts scattered across the nation record the call. If a pattern of words is detected by a computer algorithm an alert is sent to the law. Congratulations. You’ve just become a suspected terrorist.
TIA knows what shows you watch on DirecTV, what books you check out of local library and when you bought that 30th Anniversary DVD of “Debbie Does Dallas.” If knows about your girlfriend and the tennis pro your wife is banging. It knows what booze you buy and how much you have to drink at your local pub.
Use Facebook? Be careful. The State Department is developing a system to “provide deep analysis of topics, conversations, network, and influencers of hte global social web.”
The military is already monitoring Facebook and Twitter accounts with a system called the Web Information Data System Module (WISDOM), developed by Lockheed Martin.
The Department of Homeland Security has an “Office of Screening Coordinating and Operations,” created during the George W. Bush Administration and expanded under Obama. It compiles digital fingerprints, photographs, eye scans and personal information on millions of Americans.
A report by the General Accounting Office found more than 200 “data mining” projects within the federal government. The goal: Collect personal information and compile dossiers on millions of Americans.
And the number of government programs dedicated to tracking Americans increases every day.