Security has many levels and protects you from different levels of spies. It is important to understand, the people more likely to target you are probably the least sophisticated. This means any improvement to your security will go a long way. Also, mass surveillance systems are not as sophisticated in comparison to targeted spying.
ASIO, NSA and elite spies
The only way to protect yourself completely is to learn the skills and also become an elite spy yourself.
The Snowden leaks shows that the top level hackers cannot break some forms of encryption so you can still protect yourself from elite spies by learning and implementing encrypted communications and tools.
ASIO was originally created by the CIA and has a history of spying on students and activists. ASIO budgets have increased substantially in recent years while the cost of surveillance has gone down.
They dont have the same access to super computers and the most elite hackers but they have become good at catching online paedophiles. While this is great, it also means the Federal Police have good skills in targeting whoever they are ordered to hack.
Many environmental and social campaigns involve national infrastructure or other things that come under the federal jurisdiction. Federal police sometimes support state police operations.
Australia puts $230m towards fighting cybercrime, including 50 extra police
The various state police departments have various degrees of digital capacity. The funding and resources aimed at digital crime is increasing.
NSW police for example spent more than $2m on powerful spy programs in 2015. (revealed by Wikileaks)
The software – known as FinSpy – allows widespread access to computer records, including extracting files from hard drives, grabbing images of computer screens, full Skype monitoring, logging keystrokes and monitoring email and chat communications.
Police have the technology to pretend to be a specific phone tower. This allows them to place this in the vicinity of a blockade or protest and route all the phone calls and data via their system. This then allows them realtime targeted spying on that data. See more info on EFF
There are a number of companies that sell spying services and tools to companies, such as mining companies. The Leard blockade campaign uncovered two undercover spies in their camp and suspected more. Digital spying is cheaper and safer than sending in actual people to spy. It is possible that information gathered is handed to the police.
The vast majority of hacking is done by bots that are not specifically targeting you or care about your campaign. Their intent is to install malware and or use your systems to spam or hack others, Search engine scams and other non-targeted scams
Your data is being collected and sold. There are many trackers as well as platforms like Facebook that make money off abusing your privacy. They generally sell this information to advertisers but will sell to anyone for the right price. These companies also sell data to police and spy agencies.
In many cases the intelligence community owns investments with these companies such as Facebook. One of the ways they invest is via investment companies they own such as In-Q-Tel