Here’s something mildly terrifying: Infosec-wise, there is no expectation of privacy. Ever. Especially when you work for the Government.
We always make sure we monitor before things actually get “secure.” And nothing’s ever secure, so we’re always monitoring. It’s kind of the industry standard. No one questions it, because no one wants to rock the boat. Boat-rockers are ostracized, and the ostracized don’t get promoted. And you want to get promoted, because, guaranteed, you’re going to be in crippling debt from just getting the certifications needed to get your foot in the door. Certifications that are out of date before you finish the test to get them, and certifications we (your new peers in the Government Infosec world) scoff at. We scoff because we love. More precisely, we love that there’s someone new to shit on; since we once were you. We had grand ideas and notions. Well, some of us did. Some of us are just career bureaucrats that knew enough people on the inside to get us promoted to jobs we’re wildly unqualified for.
Assuming you don’t do the rational thing, and blow your brains out before you get halfway to your new workstation; you may start to learn things. And one of the first things you’ll learn, is that despite what you, and everyone else might think; the internet isn’t a free place to exchange information and goods. It belongs to someone. I could just tell you who(m), but like any good leader, I’ll start with a parable:
Let’s imagine a recently divorced, ambitious lady who realizes she’s wasted her life doting on an abusive asshole (its rare, but when it happens, amazing.) Let’s call this recently re-born lady “Sue.” Sue worked really hard, and took out a loan to start a Sno-Ball stand up on 24th and Maryland avenue; for the specific purpose of giving addicts a place to quickly exchange dealer info. People hear about her Sno-Ball stand, and said Sno-Ball stand’s popularity grows exponentially.
And she builds them motherfucking everywhere. People like them, and they quickly outgrow their purpose as an Angie’s List for street pharmacists. After a while, she gets tired and bored, and sells the Sno-Ball stand to other people who think up new and interesting snowballs: “Monochrome Rainbow,” “The Penitent Batman,” “Unfucked Blackened Heart of Crimean War-era Russian bishop,” you know; weird original shit. Yet Sue, the founder of the snowball stand gets mad, because the new owners are making even more money than she did. Sue mutters to her ancient Jack Russell terrier: “shit, I have a right to their money too, I created the Sno-Ball stand, fer Chrissakes.” Any rational being would come to the conclusion that Sue isn’t eligible to take future profits from a business that she doesn’t own.
But turns out the DoD isn’t a rational being.
This is reality. While you function on the internet, the internet was not created for you. It was a means to communicate within the U.S. defense department. You are a fucking unwanted-but-unavoidable guest, that only degrades and diminishes the U.S. government’s ability to kill people. Despite that feeling you have about being special, an individual, everything well-meaning parents and teachers have ever taught you, turns out you’re just a dot of internet traffic monitored by maniacs with only the most cursory understanding of how civilised people function. Not to mention, while your stuff is probably not specifically targeted; it can be very easily, if it meets whatever arbitrary trigger criteria decided by a subcomittee of lunatics that can’t brew a pot of coffee without two aides and a servant.
Let’s get real: employees of the government getting paid from black budget fuck a lot of lives up, and employ the greater D.C./Baltimore metro area; most recently as the INFOSEC Intelligence capital, for about the past 2 years.
We want transparency out of the Government, and what they do. I agree, there should be transparency; although we need to be transparent in our lives and to ourselves. We need privacy to combat imperialism, yet we freely give up that right to privacy, (and you’re not thinking too hard, if you haven’t already realized that) with every transaction we make. The failure is that the likable guy that’s your local representative abuses technology, creates fear, and is so incompetent that they probably annoy the capital janitorial staff with their inability to piss in a toilet. However, I would contend that a lot of “privacy advocates” have something to hide. Why hide? Why be scared of your fellow humans, with the inherited fear of ridicule for being yourself? Social norms keep you from who you are, they don’t exist in your internet traffic that the government can already see, even if you use services like Tor. Unless you’re into child porn, in which case, you should be executed.
Personally, I have a lot of what a coarser person might call “fucked up shit” in my past, but I’m not scared if my neighbors know. Because, really, if they have a problem with that, then fuck ’em. Otherwise, shit it would kind of explain things and encourage others. This grows intellectualism, and breeds in a non-fearing, self-aware culture that provides the construct to achieve an inevitable step that humanity must take to advance. What I’m trying to get at is, why be scared about who you are? Protection and collection are “worked” at a point in time. Encryption does not stand the test of time, so whatever you think is hidden, if it’s collected in encrypted form, will eventually be cracked. Immediacy is why privacy is needed, eventually your grandkids will find out you were a fraud and into weird shit, but if it’s for the sake of justice you might be a hero. Encryption is a joke, and time is its enemy. Don’t let time catch up with you. Live an open (source) life, you’ll be wrong sometimes, but by being wrong and learning; you will make the world a better, and more intelligent place. The government already knows this, but doesn’t think you have the mental capacity, nor the basic desire to do anything about it.
Or maybe this is all just bullshit meant to distract and detract. Maybe a little of both, it’s not an exact science.