Updated: January 26, 2014
As a good citizen that you are, you are worried about the security of your stuff. Good. Which means you have reacted with utmost outrage at the news of a mass surveillance allegedly conducted by the NSA organization, on American soil no less!
While I'm not going to discuss the politics and whatnot of this lovely, juicy affair, nor give any great thought to the behavior and practice of would-be trusted companies that gave over your pr0n data without consulting you first, I sure want to talk to you about why this whole thing is actually really good for you, and why you should not be afraid at all. To wit, the most enlightening article of the century. I'm not trolling, mind.
Yes you will. You will behave yourself if you're watched, unless you're an exhibitionist. Will you urinate at a public corner if you know a CCTV camera is watching you? Will you surf to nefarious sites at your work place if you know the employer is logging the surfing records for all its slaves?
Now that you KNOW your online activities will end up logged somewhere, or multiple somewheres, and there's a chance that, supposedly, some clerk might correlate your interest in goatse with your college graduation, you might actually develop a slight sense of self-preservation, dignity, decency, and stop posting every known and unknown trifle you have done in your life to social media.
It has nothing to do with guilt. You can make a patch of moss look guilty if you set about doing it. It has nothing to do with what government agencies, or as conspiracy lovers like to call it, THE government, can do to you, if they set their bureaucratic sights on you. It's all about reducing the chance for potential self-inflicted embarrassment sometime in your future life.
As long as you realize anything you post and write, public or private, might make it to a thousand prying eyes elsewhere, then all is well. You are in control of the information you share. So there it is. Besides, you can always sue someone for disclosing your private stuff, thus making this whole scheme rather lucrative.
You thought gaining access to other people's shit is like in the stupid movies, did you not, you silly person? Well, hacking is nothing like the keyboard hammering crap you see in the media. If anything, the recent avalanche of stories only proves that.
NSA did not hack shit. They implanted their hardware inside data centers and such, gaining physical access. Not one of these stories mentions remote brute force hacking of firewalls and cryptological algorithms. If anything, it's always, always the man-in-the-middle attack scenario, where special backdoors are supposedly created so that you can actually gain access easily, without having to fight the mathematics.
So you see, no one hacked anyone. Doesn't work like that. You should actually relax, because this tells you that what you imagined is not feasible or practical. Instead, it always comes down to working around the costly and expensive and quite formidable defenses and getting to the exposed, vulnerable data. Ha!
Note: I posted the image above back in 2008. Call me divine, I won't mind.
In fact, if history shows anything, it's that external attacks and attempts at infiltration rarely work. All of the great cases of historical espionage have bee committed by the inside man. That's the only way you really get fruitful results. Hell, even NSA was compromised by, who, their own man! Be it money, ideology or poonani, it's always someone with close access and a high level of trust who does the boo-boo. Collecting petabytes of crap is just OCD on government scale. Makes me chuckle really.
Lots of people in the Western world won't buy Chinese gadgets for the fear of them being infected with malicious firmware and alike. Shame, because you can find really cheap and yet decent hardware and software on the Chinese market.
Well, worry no more. Now that you know American hardware has about the same chance of carrying evil payload, you no longer need to worry about this. You can start buying Android clones from Beijing, or whatever you fancy, for a fraction of price it costs at the local market. Damn, this is your Black Friday, like Planet Earth style.
Until recently, you only had suspicions that THE government wants to probe your orifices with their special digital equipment. Now, you know this to be true. So you can start blaming them for all the little problems and issues you have in your life. You have the perfect scapegoat for your failure at school, workplace and marriage. Free guilt free trip.
Being naive has its perks. But also its downsides. When you're naive, then you need grandiose things and events around you to be able to appreciate life. On the other hand, when your life is choked full with disappointment, when you live on the brink of sarcasm and cynicism, then you can really appreciate the little things in life, like a blossoming flower, a quiet dinner, a walk at the beach.
NSA may have deflowered your soul, but you gain street credit. No longer will you think in black & white terms. You can now devote yourself to enjoying the shades of gray, but not the fifty shades thereof, mind. Not unless you considered yourself, well, mediocre.
And I'm going back to my Security in a nutshell article, which I linked to at the beginning of this piece. Indeed, it has never been truer or more relevant, which is why I am going to embed the relevant video clip here, just in case you're too lazy to click and read my other stuff. Mind, written years before this drama saga. Genius, I am.
Too many people focus on the sensational details of this affair, I guess for the pure shock and publicity effect, because this might bring them in some extra views and clicks. Not me, Mr. Optimism. I tend to look on the bright side of things.
First, if you ever thought you live in this bright world when no one minds your business, then you are, for the lack of a better word, oligophr ... I mean naive. Second, now that you do know this, then focus on the good stuff. Hacking isn't as easy as it sounds, and you are now aware that other people are aware of your pr0n activities, so you can make sure to appear as prude and chaste and nice as necessary. In the end, you win this round. Sort of.
Note: Images of the goat, would-be spy stuff and Chinese troops are in public domain.