While reading comments on Twitter about a story that broke today about Yahoo giving the NSA complete access to every Yahoo email I came across a comment about a web site an internet security guy has created -- Have I Been Pwned -- that lets you know if your email has ever been the victim of one of those massive data breaches. I tried it and it said my Yahoo email address has been stolen three times.
NSA wasn't among the results. I wonder why. The ones that are are web sites I gave my email to so I could either read their articles or use their service or to get newsletters from them. (Stratfor, the big private spy agency that even the US government uses, has some interesting free articles I was reading for awhile.) Anyway, sometimes companies will alert all the users whose data has been hacked but I can't recall ever recall hearing anything from these people, nor from the NSA, FBI or CIA.
I wondered at first if Have I Been Pwned was someone trying to get my email address but I Googled it and some of the legitimate tech sites have had articles about it and said it was OK. There's a Wikipedia article, too. Of course. (I like Wikipedia more and more all the time. If there's anything negative about someone or something it's almost always in the Wikipedia article because it's run democratically.)
I say "Google". I use the word as a verb, as is common practice, I think. Google turns over a lot of data to the spy agencies so my primary search engine is Duck Duck Go, which does your searches for you anonymously by forwarding your search request to Google and other search engines and giving you back the results. On the Firefox browser you can set it to be the search engine that's used when you type a search into the little search box. It's as quick as Google but doesn't return as many results, so sometimes I use Google anyway, so the government knows about those searches.
Our elected representatives, by the way, have given up on protecting our privacy from government snoops. A few, namely one of my senators, Martin Heinrich, gave it a try when it first came to light, but the reforms he and Ron Wyden got passed were feeble and the spying has increased immensely since then, as you will learn if you read up on this latest Yahoo fiasco that came out today. It's not just Yahoo, either, Glenn Greenwald supposes.
Remember this guy?