Israeli Site Rape or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Surveillance

Pierce Winslow

I don’t understand why this whole NSA thing is a scandal. Don’t people watch the news, Fox or otherwise? How many times have people gotten nailed for sexting, porn site cruising, or questionable phone usage? Why is this news? You’d have to be an idiot to think that the Big Brother ain’t watchin’. Orwell was right, except 1984 just turned out to be a lame Van Halen album.

I’m “in the biz” so to speak, so maybe I know more about this than the average Joe, but you’d have to be naive think that anything you do across a public network, phone, internet or otherwise, is not being monitored.

Let me explain how the internet works. At a high level, when you type in “http://whatever”, your web browser sends “whatever” to a DNS server, which will return the address of the “whatever” server. This transaction is recorded. Then your browser sends your request to the address of the “whatever” server. If the server understands and can fulfill your request, your ninja porn comes back to you the same way your request got to the server.

At a low level, messages out of your machine go to Verizon, or Comcast, or whomever your ISP is (it’s like a tube, well, not at all really). From there the message is broadcast out on the internet in the hopes that someone else’s router will pick it up and pass it on. It’s kinda like hot-potato (potatoe?), each router passing the message on toward its destination. Anyone passing the potato can take a bite. There is also a thing called a “packet sniffer”. Now, this is not a crack ho, but rather a piece of hardware or software that can listen for messages matching the criteria set up by the user. THIS MEANS THAT ANYONE CAN LISTEN IN ON ANYTHING GOING THROUGH THEIR NETWORK! Anyway, your message gets to its destination at which point the server looks at it and sends back its reply in the same manner.

That said, every email you send bounces across a number of servers after leaving your desktop and before hitting the destination server. It has been said, wisely, that you should never put anything into an email that you would not put on a postcard (remember those? People used to send those when on vacation via snail-mail). Every server between here and there is going to keep a record of the message and it will be viewable by any number of people from administrators to hackers.

Cell phones are a bit different in that the traffic is usually local to the cellular network (which is keeping a record of everything). That is, until you get into things like apps, Facebook postings, twitterings, etc. These all go through the internet like everything else.

Essentially, everything you do on any of these networks is seen by a whole host of “people” for lack of a better expression. If any of them have the inclination, they can check out whatever you’re doing, which is why I have one of these: no data package, virtually no texting capability, no theft risk…

Winslow's Phone

With this Associated Press/NSA “scandal” everyone is acting like this is some big revelation, and that this all new. The public nature of the internet has been around since Al Gore freed it. As far as the government monitoring everything, this is also nothing new. You may remember a guy named W. He and his cronies came up with this thing called the Patriot Act. Yeah, that basically gave the president permission to surveil anyone anywhere with little or no due process. Remember, back when everyone thought it was such good idea? …well everyone but me and a few other notable Zanos. This is not illegal. It may be ethically questionable, but so is Zano. These activities are marginally necessary given the nature of terrorism these days and the apparent effectiveness of doing it, but it is not illegal. How many terror plots have been disrupted in the last few years? How fast did they catch/kill those assholes in Boston? How do you think they did that? Oh, and USA Today brought this whole thing to light back in ’06. Where was the moral outrage then? Oh, yes, it was the W administration. Sorry, what was I thinking?

Keep in mind, we’re talking about millions of terabytes of data. To expect the government to have the desire and ability to sift through every last bit looking for what you had in your coffee this morning is ridiculous. They’re not interested in the little phone thing you have going on with your secretary. Now, if you’re a loaner living in a small, unfurnished apartment, and you’re making and receiving phone calls from a phone number linked to a known terrorist in Kabul you’re either really pathetic or worthy of surveillance. I have no problem with that. I’m, actually, pretty sure that I’m on a watch list somewhere (have you seen some of the shit we post?). I just hope it results in page views so I can get this thing to generate some F-ing revenue someday. Get these MFing page views on this MFing site!

Interesting fact: the Israeli government downloaded every last article, cartoon, news bit, Ghetto Shaman column, etc., about a year ago. Now that’s surveillance, and they made no secret about it. I think The Ghetto Shaman’s The Tao of Skullschlepping probably peaked their interest. It was during his Yiddish period.

Keep in mind, also, that the US government is getting the meta data, i.e. the dates, times, durations and phone numbers of the calls you make. They are not getting the contents of those calls (unlike back in ’06). That still requires a court order. An order that they can obtain after the fact if they determine that you’re about to blow up Wal*Mart (although I may not have a problem with that) and need to stomp on your ass immediately.

And the government is not the only one doing this. Aren’t you curious as to how Google puts up ads for grills when you just so happen to be in the market for a grill? And how about those amazingly applicable auto-filled search topics? Is it a coincidence that you’re getting those penis pump spam mails and you have a small penis? (Republican joke omitted). Every search, every purchase, everything you do is in somebody’s database somewhere and is sold as marketing data.

So, people, take this with a grain of salt. You may not like it, but you were all in favor of it 10 years ago. Now you have to live with it. Oh, and you have been for 10 years so get over it.

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

—Benjamin Franklin

What’s the over-under on how long it takes them to get that Snowhard guy? I’m betting before this gets posted.

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Pierce Winslow

Pierce Winslow is the Discord's Brain, Chief Engineer and C.E.O. He co-founded the Discord along with Mick Zano in 2008 and they have both been sorry ever since.