Now we know that we are all being monitored. In 2015 The Atlantic ran a very compelling article on the Utah data center where the government captures every byte of information possible:
Drawing upon published research, Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept (April 28 2016) argues that this constant surveillance has a CHILLING effect on democracy as individuals self-censor their searches for information and their online discussion:
Walter Kirn. November 2015. If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy. The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/11/if-youre-not-paranoid-youre-crazy/407833/Everything about the data center was classified, but reports had leaked out that hinted at the magnitude of its operations. Aerial photos on the Web showed a complex of slablike concrete buildings arrayed in a crescent on a broad, bare hillside. The center was said to require enough power to supply a city of tens of thousands of people. The cooling plants designed to keep its servers from overheating and melting down would consume fantastic quantities of water—almost 2 million gallons a day when fully operational, I’d read—pumped from a nearby reservoir. What couldn’t be conveyed by such statistics was the potency of the center’s digital nucleus.
How much information could it hold, organize, screen, and, if called upon, decrypt? According to experts such as William Binney, a government whistle-blower and former top NSA cryptologist, the answer was simple: almost everything, today, tomorrow, and for decades to come. The data center, understood poetically (and how better to understand an object both unprecedented and impenetrable?), was as close as humanity had come to putting infinity in a box.
The new study documents how, in the wake of the 2013 Snowden revelations (of which 87 percent of Americans were aware), there was “a 20 percent decline in page views on Wikipedia articles related to terrorism, including those that mentioned ‘al Qaeda,’ ‘car bomb’ or ‘Taliban.'” People were afraid to read articles about those topics because of fear that doing so would bring them under a cloud of suspicion. The dangers of that dynamic were expressed well by Penney: “If people are spooked or deterred from learning about important policy matters like terrorism and national security, this is a real threat to proper democratic debate.”More recently, the latest article I've seen on ubiquitous surveillance describes ubiquitous monitoring by Advanced Orion crafts orbiting earth (you can read more about these satellites at Wikipedia):
As the Post explains, several other studies have also demonstrated how mass surveillance crushes free expression and free thought. A 2015 study examined Google search data and demonstrated that, post-Snowden, “users were less likely to search using search terms that they believed might get them in trouble with the U.S. government” and that these “results suggest that there is a chilling effect on search behavior from government surveillance on the internet.”
James Bamford. September 7, 2016. Every Move You Make. Foreign Policy, http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/09/07/every-move-you-make-obama-nsa-security-surveillance-spying-intelligence-snowden/One has to wonder how authorities can make sense of all of the data being gathered?
Over his two terms, Obama has created the most powerful surveillance state the world has ever seen. Although other leaders may have created more oppressive spying regimes, none has come close to constructing one of equivalent size, breadth, cost, and intrusiveness. From 22,300 miles in space, where seven Advanced Orion crafts now orbit; to a 1-million-square-foot building in the Utah desert that stores data intercepted from personal phones, emails, and social media accounts; to taps along the millions of miles of undersea cables that encircle the Earth like yarn, U.S. surveillance has expanded exponentially since Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009. The effort to wire the world — or to achieve “extreme reach,” in the NRO’s parlance — has cost American taxpayers more than $100 billion.
The glib answer is "big data." Big Data Analysis is of course all the rage these days and you can see why when considering the vast amounts of data being created.
Most of the programming being used to make sense of government surveillance data is not accessible to the public for obvious reasons.
However, in 2015 I happened to come across a Youtube video that alleges to describe a new AI quantum computing technology capable of generating "human terrain systems ... to identify and eliminate targets, insurgents, rebels" etc:
“JADE” is an AI quantum computing technology that produces holographic battlefield simulations and has the ability to use vast amounts of data being collected on the human domain, to generate human terrain systems in geographic population centric locations, to identify and eliminate targets, insurgents, rebels or whatever labels that can be flagged as targets in a Global Information Grid for Network Centric Warfare environments.
The JADE II battle field system is cognitive and intuitive. It can examine prior executed battle plans and and devise ‘new and better’ strategies to increase the ‘kill chain’. The II generation of JADE has the capability for two way communication with drones throuh the OCCOM technology which is one of the next generation integrations to this system. In short, JADE HELM will not be battles directed by Generals and Military Commanders, but by a computer. It is a cognitive software program based on a Network Centric Warfare System at the HELM. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiKBPmq37Yo
There is no way of verifying this type of system but its operations seem consistent with efforts to represent and monitor all aspects of society, particularly those linked to "deviance."
Unfortunately, deviance gets defined by those who control surveillance systems as anything outside of (their) normativity.
Consequently, under conditions of ubiquitous surveillance and normalization, all actions and/or communications that deviate from institutionally-established/preferred norms get labeled deviant, leading to even more intrusive surveillance of targeted deviants.
The never-ending news cycle describing ever heightened surveillance reinforces the trend toward self-censorship on the one hand and further radicalizes deviants on the other.
When I was a sophomore in college I was required to read Brave New World by Huxley and 1984 by Orwell. I always thought that Huxley's vision of technocratic social engineering would materialize over Orwell's world of authoritarian surveillance and control. I see now that I was wrong.