It’s no secret that there have been allegations of government internet spying for years. What many people might not know is that those allegations are actually true statements. Thanks to the “Big Brother Act” in the US, the government can monitor anything and everything from what articles you look at, to who you’re talking to and what you’re purchasing online. We are led to believe it’s for our safety but where is the line? When does it go too far?

So what exactly is cyber spying?

Cyber spying, also known as cyber espionage, is when an outside source obtains information without permission from individuals, competitors, rivals, groups, governments and enemies for personal, economic, political or military advantage using methods on the internet, networks or individual computers through the use of cracking techniques and malicious software including Trojan horses and spyware. [definition adapted from Wikipedia]

However, a bigger issue of personal invasion has come to surface, because it no longer solely affects businesses; More recently, cyber spying has involved the analysis of public activity on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Can it be avoided?

The revelations of a former CIA employee, exposing the cyber-espionage operation run by the US government, has raised alarms and left the public asking themselves “how can I reduce the chances of being spied on?”

Unfortunately laws such as the CISPA in the US, otherwise known as the “Big Brother Act”, leave people defenseless. If you do not agree with it, then the only option you have is to remove the Internet from your life (email accounts, social media platforms, P2P applications, instant messaging programs, etc.) In Canada, although we don’t necessarily have the same laws, we are very much still at risk of cyber spying and it’s important to be aware of any vulnerabilities.

At the end of the day, each individual is responsible for what they post or search for on the internet and it is more important now than ever to use common sense. In other words, if you need to research something that you don’t want anyone to ever find out about – go to a library.