Trapped within a PRISM

I have used my google account for 12 years.

My apple account not as much but 10 years.

Microsoft account not as much but maybe 14-15 years on the same account.

There has been an android device in my home or pocket for about the last 8 years.

The entire time the true face of surveillance is being revealed (whistle-blowers like Snowden and Klein, or fcc overseer finding fcc selling location data, customs border third party camera breach, on and on and on, Equifax, Carnegie Mellon, etc ad naseum)…

My point is: How reasonable a fear is it that something I read or invest in or travel I do or hobbies I like some day becoming illegal and myself or family being harmed by these records I of my activity I cannot purge?

Every day for me starts by at least one threat assessment and I know that I am a nice, peaceful good person who won’t ever harm anyone and wants everyone else to remain safe and have food and power and place to stay and meds access if they need. I am very pro peace and anti drug war and have lived all over the world. Not into anything bad, but to take email or metadata out of context, the case can be made.

Look at this just from my google history: I like reading about the middle east and I am interested in survivalist way of life, so these gun ads get emailed to me real account. I don’t own guns don’t plan on getting one but it looks like I am shopping and the catalog sells guns that look like they are full auto machine guns (they aren’t).

Also I thought I was careful making a through away account in a fake name not from ip on my continent on Israeli portal site all in Hebrew to sign up for dating sites, crypto exchanges now defunct, and gambling sites I never used, things I didn’t want associated with my USA tax paying persona.

None of it breaks laws on the books currently, but now Spokeo and lots of datamining aggregates have linked the fake Israeli email to correlate with my name, all emails and landlines, my moms home address, my dads home address, all other info that points right at me.

Even if I shut down all the accounts the info leads right to me. I “deactivated” my facebook years ago and still find data from that all over.

So how much of a concern is this 10, 20, 25 years from now if I live that long and society still standing?

Any way to mitigate some awful Phillip K Dick dystopian arrest for retroactive thought-crime?

PS - not interested in anyone’s middle east analysis, just using it as an example of how my tastes can be viewed by oligarchs in USA, etc western states

Thank you wonderful website, the podcast is amazingly well written and performed!


Good luck to you. Thanks for sharing.
Get off of everything and get on Readup. :wink:

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So, I don’t think it’s very reasonable to fear that something you do now becomes illegal 20 years from now and you’re held legally liable for it, as generally the US doesn’t apply laws retroactively, as that would (a) deprive people of notice and (b) lead to economic uncertainty (why do business in a country that will change the laws and then hold your past to them?!). Point B in particular makes it unlikely this will change any time in the foreseeable future.

However, third-party data storage still has plenty of potentially negative scenarios. For example, an employer may decide something you posted reflects poorly on them and fire you over it. This already happens. Or some criminal obtains your information from these sources and uses it to impersonate or potentially social engineer/blackmail you. The former at least won’t be getting that data from PRISM, although if some criminal were gutsy enough to break in, they might (which is my major argument against government data collection, even if we give the benefit the utmost benefit of the doubt in terms of its intentions).

That said, sharing some data is necessary in order to function. Not as much as is being hoovered up now, but it would be interesting to discuss how to share the minimal necessary data to, say, shop online or connect socially.

I think for peace of mind it’s also useful to look at how long-lived data has proven to be so far. Almost no websites from the 90s are still accessible, so I expect we will see few from the '10s still active in the '30s as well.


That is a very good point. Most of my vhs has lost its magnetism and cd’s are scratched or skip. So that is more media from the 90s even hard copy gone with the wind. I hope you are right but no one even knows how many data centers there are, how much acreage each one etc. Some US law is very retroactive. Tax law can be used by feds to sue after the fact. Doesn’t mean they will win, but even the accusation can be enough to bury you. I got a notice from gmail after I posted that saying to pay for google one and 100gb storage account or delete something, so I deleted all the email from the gmail server, freeing up 8 gb off my free 15gb account. However, when I got to and click google it shows the metadata for 76k emails. Before I “deleted” them all it read 75k. So nothing ever deletes.