National Security Agency Contractor Edward Snowden Leaked A United States Program

826 Words4 Pages
In 2013, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked a United States program that enabled the agencies to collect and monitor international communication “metadata”. Bulk metadata collection program is a “data about data”, meaning that the government has the access to the information about our phone calls and emails. These phone calls include the information about the recipient and the caller. It also includes information such the time and duration of calls and the international mobile subscriber identity number. The Email metadata encompasses of the information about the message to, from, cc and they all are timestamped. It even includes the IP address, revealing the location of the computer anywhere in the world. Since the September 11, 2001 attack, under the Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, he NSA has collected and analyzed vast amounts of the United States telephone and internet communication to prevent further attacks. However, due to the secretive nature of the collection of metadata, the legality and constitutionality of the NSAs actions are in question. Government has argued the constitutionality of the Section 215 allowing the bulk metadata collection. I support the legality of the program based upon the third party doctrine, dating to the Supreme Court 1976 holding in United States v. Miller. The Court in the Miller clearly case states that the fourth amendment does not prohibit attaining information revealed to a third party, which can be then conveyed to the government officials. The court further applies its third party doctrine to the 1979 decision in Smith v. Maryland. Smith v. Maryland has been used as a landmark case in defining the legality of the NSAs actions. In Smith v. Maryland, Smith... ... middle of paper ... ...tes. The question confronted in Smith was if the installation of a pen register constituted a legal “search” under the fourth amendment. At the time when Smith was ruled, digital intelligence was still limited and a newborn idea. Today, the question presented in front of the Supreme Court would focus on a larger issue as the present day technology, usage of technology and circumstances have changed. The collection of metadata leads to a question of checks and balances, and the evolution in the government surveillance capabilities. The precedent like Smith might not completely apply in this case as it mainly focus’ on a very limited data collection, while the bulk collection program collects all the information. Supreme Court was created in order to uphold the constitution, and therefore, would find that NSAs bulk metadata collection program process unconstitutional.
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