How Much do you Pay for your
Own Government Spying on You?

​​by ​Rafael Zambrana                                               April 20, 2014
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Courtesy of the Venus Project

An article at Forbes Magazine goes into detail how much each company charges the tax-payer to conduct spying on them, that amounts some times into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per individual, according to Forbes' Andy Greenberg.

The American Civil Liberties Union reported documents it had obtained through Freedom of Information Requests it conducted to a couple of hundred police departments in the US that show a pattern of police tracking cell phone locations and gathering other data like call logs without warrants, using devices that impersonate cell towers to intercept cellular signals, and encouraging officers to refrain from speaking about cell-tracking technology to the public, all detailed in a New York Times story.

According to Forbes the following are some of the fees:
- Wiretaps cost hundreds of dollars per target every month, generally paid at daily or monthly rates. To wiretap a customer’s phone, T-Mobile charges law enforcement a flat fee of $500 per target. Sprint’s wireless carrier Sprint Nextel requires police pay $400 per “market area” and per “technology” as well as a $10 per day fee, capped at $2,000. AT&T charges a $325 activation fee, plus $5 per day for data and $10 for audio. Verizon charges a $50 administrative fee plus $700 per month, per target.

- Data requests for voicemail or text messages cost extra. AT&T demands $150 for access to a target’s voicemail, while Verizon charges $50 for access to text messages. Sprint offers the most detailed breakdown of fees for various kinds of data on a phone, asking $120 for pictures or video, $60 for email, $60 for voice mail and $30 for text messages.

- All four telecom firms also offer so-called “tower dumps” that allow police to see the numbers of every user accessing a certain cell tower over a certain time at an hourly rate. AT&T charges $75 per tower per hour, with a minimum of two hours. Verizon charges between $30 and $60 per hour for each cell tower. T-Mobile demands $150 per cell tower per hour, and Sprint charges $50 per tower, seemingly without an hourly rate.

- For location data, the carrier firms offer automated tools that let police track suspects in real time. Sprint charges $30 per month per target to use its L-Site program for location tracking. AT&T’s E911 tool costs $100 to activate and then $25 a day. T-Mobile charges a much pricier $100 per day.

The most important lesson to gather from these discoveries, is how much the freedoms we have been taking for granted throughout our lives, were in fact rarely true and as technology develops allowing the State more power to spy, are constantly shrinking.
The revelations by Snowden and others on how complex and sophisticated is the State's spying on the citizenry is a double edged sword.   While the awareness can trigger action to curtail it, it also can foster numbness of the mind and mold it to act as if privacy can't be achieved any more, rendering the ability to dissent impossible, just as described in the novel by George Orwell "1984".

Those who say "I have nothing to hide" and accept the total surveillance of their daily activities, are unaware of what this means in actual terms, and the direct consequences it brings into their lives.

The first mistake by people who trust those in power anywhere in the world is to assume blindly they are there to protect them.    That trust has to be earned with deeds and it is our job as citizens to keep governments in their toes by constantly demanding transparency and honesty.
It is an unfortunate practice for most of those people who attain power over others, to seek its perpetuity.   Democracy is an attempt to curtail that but as we know its results in practice are spotty and some times downright deceiving, as I see in United States where both main parties are under the same corporate management.

Knowledge of what everyone is thinking and planning to do, be it friends or foes gives us power over them, if we want to use it for good or for bad.   Spying is big business for governments and corporations in order to benefit with new technologies the competition has developed, or their marketing plans.   The mere fact individual people know they are being watched, triggers a coercive effect to conform to the "official" narrative of reality, and inhibits independent thought.     This was the central theme of the novel 1984's "Big Brother" concept, always watching from a camera in every room throughout. 
I always marvel at the discovery that millions of people have become familiar with the term "Big Brother" from TV shows, but have no clue as to where it comes from.   Their lack of curiosity as to what it means and where the term came from is astounding.   All of which reinforces the idea that "knowledge is power".   The more unaware the population, the easier for those in privileged position of power and knowledge, to manipulate them into submission in order to use them to sustain the elite's privileged position.

The following are a few quotes that help us to illustrate this point:

“Whoever expects to be ignorant and free.....
expects what never was and never will be"
Thomas Jefferson

"None are more hopelessly enslaved,
than those who falsely believe they are Free"

The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with
a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.
J. Edgar Hoover

"Only the small secrets need to be protected,
the big ones are kept secret by public incredulity"
Marshall McLuhan

“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not
ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.”
— Daniel Boorstin

No creative thoughts can flourish while under the magnifying glass of a spying entity robbing us of our personal privacy.    Today we are aware this human right has been practically been taken away from us by the fascist union of state and corporate power.   Our job is to get it back.

To do it we have to understand a few things:
- First - Governments have a natural tendency to exceed their mandate of control and therefore we need to keep a constant watch on their activities, and for this we need to REDUCE the role of governments and transfer much of their current activities to local citizen committees.

- True freedom is a constant battle against those who rather make you work so they don't have to, as is the case in most of those in the highest earning brackets in society, especially the banking sector.    The accusations against people in the poor classes as "welfare bums" are a red herring to divert your attention from the real grand thieves robbing us in the trillions of dollars as we speak.

- The foundation for the sophisticated scheme to sustain the machinery supporting the outrageous theft of our natural and human resources today, is the Fractional Reserve Banking System that allows banks to create the money supply out of thin air and charge governments, businesses and people interest.
Every time that anyone comes close to changing this monetary system is assassinated, as it happened to presidents Lincoln, Garfield and Kennedy.

"If you want to remain slaves of the bankers and pay for the costs of your own slavery, let them continue to create money and control the nation's credit"
Sir Josiah Stamp
1880-1941 Former Director Bank of England

- It has to be recognized that all the governmental institutions are NOT to give service to the people, but are there to perpetuate the control and theft by the elites.   Any resemblance to "service" for individuals and businesses is with the purpose for those elites to fleece more efficiently the wealth being generated by the people, just as a farmer worries about his cows staying healthy so he can sell more milk and beef, not because they give a damn about us individually.
The CIA, FBI, Pentagon, NSA etc. are at the service of the privileged and are always used to perpetuate the Status Quo.     Perhaps the majority of the millions that work in those institutions do not know what the real aims are and they believe in the US constitution and democracy, as demonstrated by the many whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden who have the guts to dissent when they see the actions of their bosses differ from the ideals we have been given, for then they are persecuted as traitors and criminals when in fact the traitors are those who refrain from blowing the whistle still inside the repressive (security) apparatus, on their politician, military and judicial bosses.

We need to re-adjust our framing of reality if we want to come up with actions that will have an effect on changing the current self-destructive direction the world's society is following towards the abyss.

Just as the story about the Emperor with no Clothes, the mere act of being conscious will be enough to take away the power these clowns have over us, once we gather enough minds to apply it.
For this we have to understand that power they have over us is OUR POWER we give them the moment we ADOPT THEIR NARRATIVE of how reality is.   If we agree it is OK for the "government" to spy on us, it is us who are giving our privacy away.

If we adopt a belief system called capitalism that allows some in society to hoard capital and charge interest on it while human beings are turned into commodities to be used as a piece of machinery or an animal for the benefit of investors, to be dismissed from their earning activities without regard for their well being, then we deserve whatever we get from such an inhuman action.

Rejecting capitalism doesn't mean adopting communism.     We have a creative brain that can design the next economic system beyond anything that has happened in the past, adopting the best features of any system and inventing new ones in the process.

THE TIME IS NOW TO BE ALL WE CAN BE AS HUMANS creating the socio-economic system for the New Paradigm.
Benito Musolini described Fascism as the union of the State and Corporate power.   The fact these corporations have a set list of fees for the government to pay for spying on their customers without a warrant, means this union is an ongoing, established practice.
In other words this is another example that proves the fact we're already in the "soft" stage of a fascist police state.
How Much do you Pay for your Own Government Spying on You?