Anything you type on a computer is fair game for the Homeland Security people. There routinely screen all email, voice calls, and digital traffic. They track which websites you visit and what you read. According to NOVA, they collect the equivalent of 12 filing cabinets of information on you every year from their spying. If you encrypt your email, say with PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) mail, this will not stop them, just slow them down a little. Encryption is primarily to stop casual snoops.
There are so many bugs in Windows, hackers can exploit them to look at any of your disk files. Again, file encryption will only slow them down and keep out the amateurs.
The Homeland Security people (and brethren) know exactly what sort of pornography you like to view, and may at some point in future use that to blackmail or intimidate you. You position is something like the Gene Hackman character at the end of the movie The Conversation when he could not find the listening bug no matter how he stripped his apartment to the bare boards. He had to learn to live knowing he was being spied on 24/7, like the characters in 1984
By hacking your computer, a spy can turn on your webcam or your microphone and watch you. The best way to foil them is to unplug your webcam and your microphone (including the one in your headphone) when not in use.
Advertisers share everything they can glean about you to create a hyperprofile they can use in creating ads they think you will find irresisble, delivered at just the right time. They know things like what prescriptions you buy, your medical test results, e.g. your cholesterol level, the value of your home, the ages of your children, your salary, what kind of car you own, websites you visited, things you looked up on Google… Turning off cookies in your browser helps makes this more difficult for them. Of course browsers have back doors so that the cognoscenti can turn them back on again.
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