This blog relates to the video of my song, “Metadata (We’re Watching You).”
In 2013, Edward Snowden, at the time an employee of the US National Security Agency, handed over classified documents to journalists exposing the fact that the US government was conducting mass surveillance on virtually everyone in the US, and much of the rest of the world’s population.
Big-tech corporations such as Google and Facebook also conduct mass surveillance on their users. Indeed, they are a major source of data collected by US government spy agencies.
All of this is direct contradiction to the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution, which protects the liberty and privacy of US citizens from searches.
There are ways you can limit how much data corporations and governments collect on you, which I will go into further below, but it is virtually impossible to protect yourself fully from them. Most of us are amateurs when it comes to internet technology. Corporations and governments hire experts to spy on us, and pay them well.
So the only real solution is to demand an end to this violation of our rights. Call and email the politicians who are supposed to represent you. Sign petitions. March in the streets. Attend rallies. Demand that the politicians pass laws to protect our freedom and privacy.
DEMAND an end to government mass surveillance of US citizens!
DEMAND an end to corporation collection and sale of user data!
DEMAND that whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden, be pardoned!
How You Can Protect Yourself Online
Until the people force the US government to end mass surveillance, there are a few simple things you can do to limit the data they collect, and make it a little harder for them. If you search for “internet privacy” you will find a lot of sites with recommendations. I will list four of them below. Some of those recommendations require a moderate level of computer technical ability. But first, I will give you two simple tips– one for your cellphone and one for your computer– that require no technical expertise.
On Your Cellphone:
One of the worst violations of your rights by tech corporations and governments is tracking your geographical location all the time. So the first thing you should do is turn off location tracing. Go into your settings and find “Location Services” on the iphone, or “Location” on the Android, and disable it. Enable it only when you have to use it, such as apps like Lyft or Uber. Then disable it when you’re done. This makes it harder for corporations and government spy agencies to track your whereabouts.
On your Desktop and Laptop Computer:
Use the Private Browsing mode on the web browser that you do use, so your browsing history is not tracked.
Here are three websites with additional recommendations: