IP Address / by kevin murray

You are either an unusual person, very poor, or very old, if you aren't utilizing the internet.  The internet, however, is a road that is well monitored.  For instance, your Internet Protocol (IP) Address is assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and not by yourself.  The fact that your ISP (such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T) provides you with your IP address means with a certainty that they know your name and your address.  So if you are under the mistaken impression that surfing the net is something that you do with no outside agencies being cognizant of what sites you go to and what things you download, you are sadly mistaken.   Even if most of your internet surfing is done in the confines of your own home and your own network, the actual surfing is more akin to you traveling down a public road with your stops, your conversations,  and your activities duly noted, probably in vivid detail.  For some people this isn't a problem, isn't even an issue, but for many people this is more than a little creepy, it just seems wrong.


When surfing the internet, you are far better off recognizing that all the websites that you visit, your emails, your Facebook account, your tweets, are subject to the Government or its monitoring agencies being able to decode them, to intercept them, to monitor them, and to record them, and all of this to be tracked back to yourself or to your family or your network.  Any expectation of privacy and confidentiality that you believe that you have is probably mistaken.   Also, if you are under the misimpression that perhaps you are protected from all of this because your internet activity is being accomplished through a private, non-government company, you will find that most all privately or publicly-held corporations will willingly give up your information to proper Government agenciesnot because they so much want to "rat you out" but because they are under heavy bureaucratic regulations and have a vested interest in maintaining their business model, and consequently their excuse to you is simply one of them being compelled to obey a court or a superior order.


While there are plenty of things that you as a consumer can do to encrypt your data, I believe this is missing the main point, which is why are we allowing Government agencies to monitor and snoop on private citizens without probable cause to begin with.  That is to say, allowing some Government agency to monitor anybody 24/7 and there certainly is a good chance that that person is in violation of some law, whether obscure or not.  Additionally, we have been taught that it isn't nice to eavesdrop or to try to listen to private conversations that we are not privy too. 


The internet is a wonderful source of information, of ease of communication, of entertainment, and the like, but it leaves a visible trail of our activity, our words, and our actions for those that are meant to be in service to us, but for all practical purposes behave as our masters.