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Special Report: Who's Watching You Part III

Government snooping on Internet traffic, emails, Facebook, instant messages and phone calls.

"I guess it kind of verifies biases I already had and assumptions that everything I do is being watched," said Sarah Rhodes, a regular internet user. 

"Nothing's actually really safe. You're going to incur risk with anything you do, we're being watched all the time." 

Experts believe we're watched first and foremost on the web through emails. 

"Emails for example, which many people think may believe is a secure mode of communication is not secure at all," said Art Mandler, founder and part of owner of Skyrunner Wireless Internet in Asheville. 

He says with the right tools, snooping on emails is simple. 

"Unless you make special efforts to encrypt your emails when you send them, they're just open text being sent across the internet."

Also easily watched is internet traffic, something most web users already noticed with internet ads that hone in on recent website traffic. 

"Then when you go to read the New York Times the next day, by golly those ads are all about fly fishing equipment," said Mandler. 

It's called tracking and done by all internet providers. 

"They're not tracking you by name.  They're not saying Frank did this.  But they're looking at the IP address that you came from, the mac address that you came from, they're tracking these numbers and storing those in data bases and saying uh, this person is interested in fly fishing," said Mandler.

That data, according to Snowden documents, is also being shared with the NSA.  

"Who really has time to dig into what i'm doing."

Most on the web aren't too alarmed about losing their privacy. 

"The other thing that makes me feel a little bit better is that I don't feel that I'm doing anything that the government would certainly care about.  On the other hand, I want the privacy, I want to have it.  It bothers me that it's not there," said Renee Hopkins.

The material is all there for the NSA. 

"I mean all the big players have been asked by the NSA to hand over material," said Mandler. 

It's material some fear government investigators could use against unsuspecting web users.

"What if you're a casual marijuana user and you write to a buddy from high school about that or maybe you were 20 years ago, is that going to turn up in the data base about mexican drug cartels?"

The NSA, apparently casting a broad net over the information shared on the web, all in the name of national security. 

"It's not like we can trust that this is in place and it's going to be used in a good way, because there aren't fail safes for surveillance," said Rhodes.

By Frank Fraboni


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