Step one, cell phone surveillance – make sure that the battery is fully charged, wrap it securely and mail it to some long dead relative in a country you can’t pronounce. This will provide hours of fun for the NSA snoopers using geo-location techniques. For even better results make sure that you have Angry Birds loaded and running.

Step Two, sell your car to the local pimp. OnStar will show it in a seedy part of town, while your iPhone will be showing you in Someunpronoucible-istan.

Step Three, reprogram your computer with a large fire ax. That will fix any issues with people trying to snoop on you via your IP address.

Step four, cut up all credit and debit cards. Well if you use them the NSA will know where you are. Even worse, some hacker might try to steal your identity.

Step five, find a remote cave to live in and learn which nuts and berries are safe to eat.

Lets face it folks, you really cannot avoid being snooped on. I use a store discount card at my local supermarket. I really don’t care that the store knows that I like fresh baked bread, unsalted butter, and quality cheese, it is fair trade for the discounts I receive.

I use Googles free email system. It is easy, convenient, and cavernous in storage capacity. Google snoops my emails and uses what I say to show me ads that they think I would like. I find it humorous. After a series of emails to and from Go Daddy about migrating a web site I was inundated with Go Daddy ads for weeks. I also ran a rather cynical article about DircTV which created a whole bunch of emails from the company’s PR department and various executives. Yup, you guessed it, weeks of DirecTV ads! I could name other examples, but I have made my point. The price I pay for ‘free’ is advertising. That is just fine with me.

This brings me to the NSA. At face value the snooping is invasive and pointless, it is! In reality though how much damage is being inflicted? An analysis of my phone records would show that Jan calls her mother several times a week, and I talk to a wide variety of Authors and Musicians. I seriously doubt that the NSA would find much of interest. The bottom line is that I really don’t care. My phone company already knows who I call, if the NSA also want the information it is no big deal to me.

That said, I do not think that the collection of data should be allowed. It is disturbing to see George Orwell’s 1984 become a reality. The other question that must be asked is how useful is the NSA in preventing possible terrorist threats?

Of course that must remain a secret! Here is the question that I ponder. What happened in Benghazi? The place was knee deep in CIA agents and clearly the NSA and the UK;s GCHQ were monitoring communications, so what went wrong? Were the NSA listening in to my wife talk about her back problems instead of monitoring the bad guys?

The exact budget of the NSA is secret, the general thoughts are that it is around $15 billion a year. I get a headache with big numbers and try to break them down into numbers that I can understand. My math is a bit rusty but this seems to work out somewhere around $50 per year for every man women and child in the US. Or $1 per week per person.

Who wouldn’t want to spend a dollar a week in the knowledge that their most private information was safe?

Actually I see a way that the NSA could turn around the image problem they have, and make a few dollars. Start a 672 service (NSA), just like 411, for a small fee the operator will identify the nasty telemarketer that just called you in the middle of dinner.

Simon Barrett

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