Question of the Day

Is the Government Watching You?

By VICE Staff

Everyone just learned, to no great surprise, that the National Security Agency can pretty much grab phone records of anyone it wants without a warrant. In all likelihood, that's just the tip of the surveillance-state iceberg—if it really, really thinks it should, the government can go through your email, watch you with satellites, and track every website you visit. You are an open book as far as America's spy agencies are concerned—the question is, do they want to read you? There's no way to find out what information, exactly, the government is interested in gathering, so we decided to walk around New York City and ask people if they thought they were being watched. Hope you guys have nothing to hide!

VICE: Do you think the government is watching you right now?
Will, former thief: Most definitely.

Why do you think so?
In order to keep order, I feel like the government needs to know exactly what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. I mean, there are cameras everywhere.

Have you done anything you don’t want them to see?
Of course, everybody has. When it comes to scratching together something, or stealing something.

Have you stolen anything recently?
Not recently. I’ve got guap.

Emily, bartender, comedian, teacher: I don’t know if they are watching me in particular. I think that if they wanted to they probably could.

Do you think they watch people in general?
I do.

How do they do it?
I’m pretty sure there are tons and tons of security cameras used for protection against terrorists. And I’m pretty sure if the government accused anyone of being a terrorist, they could use that footage or get any footage they would want to have.

So where are the cameras?
Uh, I don’t know. They exist. That’s how they get footage that they get from the bombings in Boston. I don’t know where it is, or who’s in charge, but it does exist.

Does it worry you?
No. I feel like I live pretty much above reproach. I’m not really breaking any laws. I don’t think I need to be worrying about those kind of things.

Do you think the government is watching you right now?
Ben: Possibly. It’s interesting because I actually work in Connecticut. I ride my bike back and forth to work. There were satellite pictures taken of me on my bycicle on the street.

So why do you think they’re watching you?
That’s kind of irrelevant. They just might be watching.

So what you're saying is, when the shit hits the fan, we’re all screwed.
Hey man, you’ve got to watch yourself out there.


Do you think the government is watching you right now?
Other Ben: Right this moment, at this site? Yeah, probably.

How come?
It’s a busy intersection. There’s probably cameras. Something like that.

Why do you think they’re watching you?
Not me specifically, right? Not me specifically. But everybody around me, the whole overview? Yes.

Why do you think they’re watching?
What happened in Boston recently, for example. I don’t know. I guess I agree with it. It’s always tough to accept something like that. It’s a necessary evil.

Mind if I snap a photo of you?
Sorry, man. That would be contributing to the whole thing, you know?

Clinton, UPS driver: Of course they are.

Really? How do you think they’re doing it, any why are they doing it?
The eye. [Points up] Someone is always watching you. That satellite. Believe me. Government’s always watching.

That satellite can see us from here?
It can see everything. I’m telling you. Now, the way they’re tracking everything, and finding out what’s going on and narrowing it down. The government may not be watching, but somebody out there is watching. And it all pins down to one thing.

What’s that one thing?
Somebody’s watching! Somebody’s watching, man. Somewhere.

More on surveillance:

Is Anyone Really Surprised the NSA Is Currently Spying on Millions of Americans?

How Are We Supposed to Know What the Government Does?

The Department of Justice Secretly Spied on the Associated Press

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