No matter which country you are in, you can be sure that internet surveillance is already making a mockery of the idea that standard web users have anything like private internet access. Even in those countries where personal data is supposedly well-guarded by internet privacy laws, few people realize just how watched we in fact are. In the US, the NSA's $2 billion fortified Utah Data Center – arguably the largest civilian surveillance project ever undertaken – is, according to insider sources, due for completion in September 2013, after a decade of complex preparation. What is NSA doing there? Creating the power to deep-packet inspect, store, analyze and, where possible, decrypt all forms of data flow from US netizens. This is all in the name of – you guessed it – national security. We are talking about everything from email contents to phone calls, from searches to credit-based data trails, originating from both within the US and beyond. It seems that the July 2012 introduction of deep packet inspection by all major US internet service providers was a mere precursor to, and perhaps an instrument of, a much more invasive cyber surveillance move by the US authorities.
And if we have the NSA's Utah Data Center in America, what do we have in China, Russia and the countries of the Middle East? What is NSA's equivalent in countries where there is little-to-no legal protection of personal privacy?
Rather than worrying themselves with the answers to these questions, many netizens around the world are instead simply looking for ways to secure and anonymize their personal data flow online. After all, the question
What is NSA planning at the Utah Data Center? loses its urgency if everyone immunizes themselves from surveillance activity.
And it's extremely important we do so. As we approach an era where the average global netizen uses three IP addresses each, one has to wonder if there is anything left about ourselves that we don't' transmit over the internet at some point or another. Facebook alone gathers and stores hundreds of pages of personal data on each user. And as IPv6 rolls out, all of that transmitted and stored data can be tied to us as individuals with even greater ease. However, as some people are realizing, if an IP scrambler technology can be used each time our data is sent or received, and if that information is sufficiently guarded by in-transit high-level encryption, we can severely limit who knows what about us as people.
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