Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The NSA's Data Collection Habits Are Trickling Down to Cops and Credit Agencies

While it's true that the NSA is logging and analyzing our phone calls, emails and possibly our Facebook posts, it's pretty clear that, so far, the agency isn't interested in the average cute-kitten-posting web user. Unless you're a national security threat, your social media activity is more likely of interest to local police, advertisers and credit agencies. 

There's no shortage of stories of people posting messages, photos, and videos to their public accounts of wealth, spending habits and whereabouts—or even incriminating evidence of bank robberies and murderous intentions. Authorities around the world have also begun proactively pursuing leads via social media. They'll post mugshots of fugitives, warn people about crime trends, or ask people to keep their eyes peeled for certain suspects.

As interested third parties learn to rake, flag, and analyze our public information, it's the smaller, more localized monitoring-and-analysis operations that could affect us more regularly than the federal government's hold. The NSA is tasked with defending against national threats. Cops and companies, on the other hand, have an interest in altering and interfering with our day-to-day habits and routines.

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