The Guardian has put together this intensive explanation of everything the NSA revelations mean for average Joe Internet User, with videos, interviews and interactive diagrams. Above, an example of how many people would get examined by the NSA based on Facebook contacts if you were under observation.
Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA to build what it calls a pattern of life, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with them.
And the number of people caught up in this dragnet can be huge.
You don't need to be talking to a terror suspect to have your communications data analysed by the NSA. The agency is allowed to travel "three hops" from its targets who could be people who talk to people who talk to people who talk to you. Facebook, where the typical user has 190 friends, shows how three degrees of separation gets you to a network bigger than the population of Colorado. How many people are three "hops" from you?
|"Encode your message into something innocent looking."|
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|“Everyone is doing it.”|
|“The very fact that apps – like a period tracker or an LED flashlight [app] – share data with Facebook will come as a surprise to many people.”|
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|“How this religious holiday became the rampant, love-fuelled corp-fest.”|
|“A low flyover of Jupiter's moon Europa.”|
|“A sophisticated global marketing strategy from an industry that is desperate to attract new smokers.”|
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|Recycled Vacuum Lamps|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
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|“The Amazon Dash button for horny men and women who don’t feel comfortable telling their partner they’d like to have sex.”|
|“When Life Gives You Lemons.”|
|Fake Name Generator|