Thirteen Ways Government Tracks Us

Teri- Oregon 2012/04/10 01:05:55

Bill Quigley


April 9, 2012

Privacy is eroding fast as technology offers government increasing
ways to track and spy on citizens. The Washington Post reported there
are 3,984 federal, state and local organizations working on domestic
counterterrorism. Most collect information on people in the US. (Source)

Here are thirteen examples of how some of the biggest government agencies and programs track people.

One. The National Security Agency (NSA) collects
hundreds of millions of emails, texts and phone calls every day and has
the ability to collect and sift through billions more. WIRED just
reported NSA is building an immense new data center which will
intercept, analyze and store even more electronic communications from
satellites and cables across the nation and the world. Though NSA is
not supposed to focus on US citizens, it does. (Source)

Two. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) has more than 1.5
billion government and private sector records about US citizens
collected from commercial databases, government information, and
criminal probes. (Source)

Three. The American Civil Liberties Union and the
New York Times recently reported that cellphones of private individuals
in the US are being tracked without warrants by state and local law
enforcement all across the country. With more than 300 million
cellphones in the US connected to more than 200,000 cell phone towers,
cellphone tracking software can pinpoint the location of a phone and
document the places the cellphone user visits over the course of a day,
week, month or longer. (Source)

Four. More than 62 million people in the US have
their fingerprints on file with the FBI, state and local governments.
This system, called the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification
System (IAFIS), shares information with 43 states and 5 federal
agencies. This system conducts more than 168,000 checks each day. (Source)

Five. Over 126 million people have their
fingerprints, photographs and biographical information accessible on the
US Department of Homeland Security Automated Biometric Identification
System (IDENT). This system conducts about 250,000 biometric
transactions each day. The goal of this system is to provide
information for national security, law enforcement, immigration,
intelligence and other Homeland Security Functions. (Source)

Six. More than 110 million people have their visas
and more than 90 million have their photographs entered into the US
Department of State Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). This system
grows by adding about 35,000 people a day. This system serves as a
gateway to the Department of State Facial Recognition system, IDENT and
IAFSIS. (Source)

Seven. DNA profiles on more than 10 million people
are available in the FBI coordinated Combined DNA index System (CODIS)
National DNA Index. (Source)

Eight. Information on more than 2 million people is
kept in the Intelligence Community Security Clearance Repository,
commonly known as Scattered Castles. Most of the people in this
database are employees of the Department of Defense (DOD) and other
intelligence agencies. (Source)

Nine. The DOD also has an automated biometric
identification system (ABIS) to support military operations overseas.
This database incorporates fingerprint, palm print, face and iris
matching on 6 million people and is adding 20,000 more people each day. (Source)

Ten. Information on over 740,000 people is included
in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) of the National
Counterterrorism Center. TIDE is the US government central repository
of information on international terrorist identities. The government
says that less than 2 percent of the people on file are US citizens or
legal permanent residents. They were just given permission to keep
their non-terrorism information on US citizens for a period of five
years, up from 180 days. (Source)

Eleven. Tens of thousands of people are subjects of
facial recognition software. The FBI has been working with North
Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and other state and local law
enforcement on facial recognition software in a project called “Face
Mask.” For example, the FBI has provided thousands of photos and names
to the North Carolina DMV which runs those against their photos of North
Carolina drivers. The Maricopa Arizona County Sheriff’s Office alone
records 9,000 biometric mug shots a month. (Source)

Twelve. The FBI operates the Nationwide Suspicious
Activity Reporting Initiative (SAR) that collects and analyzes
observations or reports of suspicious activities by local law
enforcement. With over 160,000 suspicious activity files, SAR stores
the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who
are not accused of any crime but who are alleged to have acted
suspiciously. (Source)

Thirteen. The FBI admits it has about 3,000 GPS
tracking devices on cars of unsuspecting people in the US right now,
even after the US Supreme Court decision authorizing these only after a
warrant for probable cause has been issued. (Source)

The Future

The technology for tracking and identifying people is exploding as is the government appetite for it.

Soon, police everywhere will be equipped with handheld devices to
collect fingerprint, face, iris and even DNA information on the spot and
have it instantly sent to national databases for comparison and

Bloomberg News reports the newest surveillance products “can also
secretly activate laptop webcams or microphones on mobile devices,”
change the contents of written emails mid-transmission, and use voice
recognition to scan phone networks. (Source)

The advanced technology of the war on terrorism, combined with
deferential courts and legislators, have endangered both the right to
privacy and the right of people to be free from government snooping and
tracking. Only the people can stop this.

You can help support this information by voting on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/s0xy3/thirteen_wa...

Bill is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola
University New Orleans. He also serves as Associate Legal Director of
the Center for Constitutional Rights. He can be reached at

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  • Bozette 2012/04/10 01:23:51
    Add in the at least 72 Fusion Centers across the country, Smart Meters and the latest technology in TV...Smart TV which has facial recognition cameras built in and a microphone that cannot be disabled, the Youtube app on Smart phones that cannot be removed and can be remotely controlled to record, even such things as your convenience store cards and the list just keeps growing. Once they collate all available information they can come up with a pretty complete picture of you and your life, not to mention the various intrusions through new technologies.
  • antiregressivism 2012/04/10 01:17:56
    And people still wonder why I use AES-256-CBC encryption...

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