So by now Captain America: The Winter Soldier is out and hopefully you have watched it. It is not only great escapism for a couple of hours it has at it’s core a very significant message. How much protection is too much protection and more importantly, who exactly is providing that protection?
The main premise of the movie is about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites, designed to preemptively eliminate threats. Dr. Arnim Zola masterminded S.H.I.E.L.D.’s “Project Insight” as a means to identify and target potential threats to Hydra’s interests. Zola reveals that ever since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, HYDRA has secretly operated within its ranks, sowing global chaos with the goal that humanity would willingly surrender its freedom in exchange for security. (Some could say the CIA has been doing just that.)
From the film: “Zola’s Algorithm is a program for choosing Insight’s targets. -What targets? Anyone who’s a threat to HYDRA. Now or in the future. The 21st century is a digital book. Zola taught HYDRA how to read it. Your bank records, medical histories, voting patterns, emails, phone calls, your SAT scores! Zola’s Algorithm evaluates people’s past to predict their future.”
“For once we are way ahead of the curve. -By holding a gun to the head of everyone on Earth and calling it protection.”
OK enough MARVEL universe, you get the idea.
We have all been warned about the OPSEC of social media. I personally stay as far away from the twitterbookgramcloud as I can and I am VERY conscience about what I look up and watch on my android smart phone. All smart phones should be treated with the attitude of everyone, everywhere is looking at what you do.
So what does Captain America have to do with your real world OPSEC in the digital age?
A while ago I found an interesting article:
Researchers at the University of Virginia funded by the U.S. Army recently demonstrated that they can not only gather information from your personal Twitter account just like the NSA, but also aggregate and analyze that information with advanced predictive algorithms designed to determine what you’re going to do next. In this case, the researches focused specifically on predicting crime by individuals, as well as in crime “hot spots” around the country.
Here’s the kicker. The algorithms being used don’t just look for obvious keyword phrases associated with criminal activity like “I’m going to kill you” or “meet me later and we’ll give him a beat down,” but focus in on routine activities, Geo-location, and aggregate historical information to calculate the chance of a particular individual being involved in a crime at some point in the future.
With the definitions for domestic terrorism being expanded to include everyone from people making gun-like gestures with their hands to Americans joining a large protest against government over-reach, it’s only a matter of time before just about every American with a gripe or opposing view is flagged, investigated and incarcerated for a “crime” that they “may” commit in the future.
Sounds a bit like “precrime” from the movie Minority Report does it not? Or a real live Zola’s Algorithm? Go ahead and read the links. Do your own research, don’t take my world for it. Captain America was right after all. As I watched the characters onscreen talk about safety vs. freedom, I felt uneasy. Same feeling I got watching the “Occupy Movement” part of The Dark Knight Rises. Be careful what you wish for. Instead of helicarriers with guns you could have Global Hawks linked to MQ-9 Reapers.
“No way!” you say, “Oh yes” I say. Once you are labeled a “terroristic threat” your conversations/emails/online posts becomes what the mass media describes as “terrorist chatter”. As in “terrorist chatter ramped up to the latest attack.”
“They can’t possibly monitor EVERYTHING all the time!” you say. “They” don’t have too. Edward Snowden showed how they collect it. “They”store it until they need it at large data centers. Don’t think “they” aren’t building more such sites.
OPSEC is not something you should have with just your preps. You should really observe OPSEC in everything you do.