In case you were wondering what the federal government can observe about you from your electronic activity - and when it gained that ability - here are two handy, once-top-secret slides.
According to the Washington Post,
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers. But there has never been a Google or Facebook before, and it is unlikely that there are richer troves of valuable intelligence than the ones in Silicon Valley.
Regarding U.S. intelligence-gathering ability, Democratic Sen. Frank Church once warned: “That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.” Should such power fall into the wrong hands, he warned, “there would be no way to fight back.”
That was 38 years ago.