Most people aren’t very aware of it, but we’re all under surveillance. Telecom companies and tech giants have access to nearly all of our private data, from our exact physical locations at any given time to the content of our text messages and emails. Even when our private data doesn’t get sent directly to tech companies, our devices are still recording it locally. Do you know exactly what you were doing on your computer two months ago today at 3:05 p.m.? Your web browser probably does.
Yet while we all live under extensive surveillance, for government employees and contractors — especially those with a security clearance — privacy is virtually nonexistent. Everything they do on their work computers is monitored. Every time they search a database, their search term and the exact moment they searched for it is logged and associated with them personally. The same is true when they access a secret document, or when they print anything, or when they plug a USB stick into their work computer. There might be logs of exactly when an employee takes screenshots or copies and pastes something. Even when they try to outsmart their work computer by taking photos directly of their screen, video cameras in their workplace might be recording their every move.