Cyber Crime EyeCredit: Dreamstime
In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the size and scope of the U.S. national-security apparatus has greatly expanded.
The trigger of that growth was the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 — more commonly known as the Patriot Act — which Congress overwhelmingly approved in the weeks following 9/11.
Since its inception, the Patriot Act has been controversial, and some argue that it is an attack on the freedoms protected in the Bill of Rights. In May of this year, two Democratic members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said "Americans would be appalled if they knew how broadly the Justice Department has interpreted what the law allows government snoops to do."
Nevertheless, President Barack Obama and Congress extended several key provisions in the Patriot Act until 2015. While some in Congress want to overturn the provisions or require the government to be more honest about how it spies on its citizens, chances are we will remain under the watchful and secretive eye of federal agencies for the foreseeable future.
State and local governments also have surveillance measures in place. Many products that make life a little easier, such using an E-Z Pass card to zip through toll booths, feed information back to the government.
Here are 10 ways government agencies watch us: