Americans were shocked when it was revealed that the NSA and other US government agencies were conducting massive spying efforts on the cell phone calls of American (and people of other nations as well). These spying revelations, I’m sure are well known to readers and need no review at this point other than to remind us that the awareness of this massive US spying program came as a result of the whistle-blowing by Edward Snowden.
As if the apparently wall-to-wall spying upon Americans by the NSA and other agencies wasn’t enough, it was recently revealed by a Wall Street Journal article that the US Marshals service has also been conducting a massive secret spying program directed at cell-phone conversation in the USA (or perhaps elsewhere too?). The first three links detail how this spying program was conducted. The US Marshals equipped airplanes to mimic the functions of cell-towers so that their spy planes would pick up the cell-phone conversations of many Americans (or citizens of other nations whose calls may have been captured while they spoke with Americans on cell phones). The first link notes that this “indiscriminate collection” of cell phone conversations is so widespread that this spying program “covers most of the US population.” I have a question: While we’ve been told that the NSA spying program doesn’t capture or record the actual phone conversations of cell-phone users, it seems to me that this spy program by the US Marshall’s office that captures the cell-phone conversations as they are occurring infers that the actual content of cell phone conversation is being captured, recorded and perhaps listened to in real-time. Is this not the obvious conclusion to draw from a program which captures cell-phone conversations while they are “pinging” off of the spy planes’ equipment that are imitating the functions of cell-phone towers? This conclusion seems supported by the link’s further assertion that the program was designed to circumvent the need to obtain court orders to legally spy on individual’s cell phones. This latest secret program was so secret that even the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) didn’t know about it (second link). I believe that if the US government knew how to deploy this secret spying program to trick cell phone users into thinking their calls were being routed via legitimate cell-phone towers instead of spy planes, many other nations’ spy agencies knew how to do this too. That leads me to conclude other nations are doing this same kind of spying on their citizens as well.
It seems that cell phone calls are now so universally spied-upon that if you want to have some chance of privacy in a phone call one ought to use only the old landlines (but those calls are still subject to search warrants if there is probable cause of wrongdoing).
In a related spying story, it was just revealed that a Russian group has been hacking into all kinds of web-cams all over the USA (and presumably anywhere else in the world)–see third link. Apparently, any web-cam in your home or place of business can be hacked by anyone with sufficient skills to spy on you. The fourth link details a British report re: how easy it is for hackers to spy on you or gain access to your computer or web-cam.
It does seem we have arrived at the point no form of communication is secret or private anymore. Is even the US mail private? There are criminal penalties for anyone opening first-class mail without a court order if I recall correctly. However, court orders are now essentially “a dime a dozen” as long as the secret federal FISA court exists. Many articles, columns and blogs have been written about the FISA court, whose only function seems to be granting court orders to federal agencies to spy on innocent people when those federal agencies know they would never be able to obtain a court order from a “real” court where they would have to prove probable cause.
I think it is safe to say that the spy agencies of many other nations are using these same spying methods to spy on everyone within their nations as well. In terms of web-cam spying, if it is so easy to hack into web cams, it is possible that the most secret discussions in corporate boardrooms, the Federal Reserve Board and the Big Banks, federal government offices, Congressional offices, Judge’s discussions among themselves, and even conversations within the White House, etc. have all been spied on for some time. Undoubtedly, nations’ intelligence services have been spying on each other’s web-cams for some time, given how easy they apparently are to hack.
From a biblical perspective, we are seeing more and more evidence of so many “Big Brother” spying efforts which are making everyone’s communications and financial activities known to whoever wants to spy on them. We regularly hear reports of massive hacking attacks against the credit card records of major department stores and credit card issuers. Revelation 13:15-18 prophesied that the final “beast” system would apparently have the ability to control all financial transactions on the planet. Before the ability to control such activities must come the ability to monitor and spy on all such activities. That hurdle seems to have been already passed. I think there is no question that all the spying systems and technologies will be used by the final Beast power when it comes into being.
However, I’d like to close by offering a bit of hope. The Bible also prophesies in Revelation 11 that for three and one-half years near the end of the latter-day period of time, God will delegate Divine powers to two human prophets called the Two Witnesses. It will be lethal for anyone who tries to harm them for the duration of their ministry (Revelation 11:5). They will be empowered by God to “smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will” (Revelation 11:6). How proactive will they be? They may decide to issue a directive to all governments and corporations on the earth to end their spying programs and “dump” all data collected on people who were spied upon without a court order granted after probable cause was first confirmed to a judge in the normal court system. That will greatly displease the beast system. However, I’m sure the Two Witnesses will be able to come up with plagues severe enough to compel obedience to whatever they demand or decree. You can read much about the ministry of the Two Witnesses in my article, The Two Witnesses. To date, we have no idea who they will be. When they begin to manifest their powers, they will be directed against the power structures and elites of this world. Keep that in mind as imposters are likely to come on the scene as well.