Over the course of the last decade there has been a dramatic increase in Internet Spying. Some of the spying has been done for the purpose of data mining in order to sell the information or directly for marketing purposes. Much of the internet spying and marketing was done for political and ideological purposes under the feigned rubric of national security. A large proportion of this spying was instituted in an effort to silence criticism of the last presidential administration and to deliberately invade people’s privacy in furtherance of the anti-sexuality, pro-corporate interest policies and agenda of that administration. Since the bureaucracy and courts are still heavily laden with these political appointees the policies have continued. Internet Service Providers have continued to not only acquiesce to this spying by a plethora of agencies and parties, but to assist in it. Even worse, it seems that the internet service providers themselves along with a host of other big name internet based companies and social services networks have joined in both the internet spying and data mining, finding it financially advantageous. It seems liberty was never a consideration. The financial bottom line and the views of the heavyweight corporate owners has trumped freedom, and as a result the violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act with respect to US.Code: Title 18 Chapter 119 Wire and Electronic Communications interception and Interception of Oral Communications have become rampant. Please see
US Code Title 18 Chapter 119 Wire and Electronic Communications interception and Interception of Oral Communications and read up the Stored Communications Act. See
US Code Title 18 Chapter 121-Stored Wire and Electronic Communications and Transitional Access For updates on the situation I would recommend checking frequently at the website of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) , the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Wired News .
With respect to internet censorship: An example of alleged Facebook and Internet Censorship: According to a Dec. 19, 2008 NY Times.com article Barry Schnitt of Facebook defended the censoring (removal) of breast feeding photos claiming they are unsafe for children. He added that “the photos we act on are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain”. Apparently Facebook believes women’s bare breasts are obscene and that babies should be blindfolded while breast feeding - this despite numerous rulings to the contrary in States around the country. The Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest Court once ruled that laws prohibiting bare breasts in public were unconstitutional because that is gender discriminatory. There is little controversy about men having their nipples exposed in public.
One of the most ironic things about all of this is that the excuse of “national security” has been invoked to justify secrecy and privacy with respect to officially sanctioned wrongdoing whilst simultaneously that same “national security” is invoked to dispose of any secrecy or privacy for individual citizens.
I hope readers will feel free to share other reports of of internet spying and internet censorship in their comments.