American citizens deserve the rights given to them and need to fight for the right to keep them by changing privacy laws to include Internet privacy. The American government used to be able to keep the people in happy ignorance to the fact that they watch every move they make. After certain revelations of people like Edward Snowden, the public knows the extent of the government spying. On June 5, 2013 Edward Snowden leaked documents of the NSA to the Guardian (The Guardian 2). The whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed to the world how the American government collects information like cell phone metadata, Internet history, emails, location from phones, and more.
This means that information of millions of innocent Americans are kept on file and can be used against them. NSA’s participation with public companies including but not limited to Microsoft, Google, etc. and the PRISM program that collects Internet usage and emails made by Americans is one way that the NSA has been spying on Americans. Snowden released a secret PowerPoint presentation revealing how the NSA trains authorized personal about PRISM. Apart of PRISM is the NSA’s commitment to Cellphone companies like Verizon and AT&T, where the NSA can snoop on the phone calls made by Americans and can gain intelligence from them.
Is it worth giving up privacy for security that may not protect anyone after all? Recently Edward Snowden a former National Security Agent (NSA) said that the reason he leaked government information was to warn the United State citizen of the danger they are facing from the government surveillance programs. According to Snowden, the NSA is gathering phone calls context and internet information on every American, storing this mass of information to use in the future to against the people they are supposed to protect. The government claims they had an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that allow them to collect metadata information from the Verizon telephone company, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others, to analyze the information for a possible threat to the United State. The problem with this is that the government collection of information of all Americans violates the fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution, which protects Americans from intrusion to their private lives from the government.
The privacy of technology has sparked debates across the world as to if the NSA is violating personal rights to privacy by collecting personal data such as, phone calls and text messages without reason or authorization (Wicker, 2011). Technology plays a key role in society’s day to day life. In life, humans expect privacy, even with their technology. In recent news, Edward Snowden leaked huge pieces from the NSA to the public, igniting these new controversies. Now, reforms are being pressed against the government’s throat as citizens fight for their rights.
In Daniel J. Solove’s paper “Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’” explores the issue of how the government uses the Internet to watch Americans and what they do while online. Solove states “In many instances, hardly anyone will see the information, and it won't be disclosed to the public.” So one must decide why it’s so important that the government watches online activity and whether or not it’s needed to the extreme that the government states it is. With online activity growing more every year, is the government’s eyes on it really as necessary as it makes it seem to be? First, one must discover the real reason why the government feels the urgency it does to spy on America’s people. The biggest argued reason is due to national security.
Some may think the actions the government has been doing have been unconstitutional; however that is incorrect, “in situations deemed to be emergencies, executive-branch agencies such as the NSA were entitled to eavesdrop without a warrant” (“Surveillance”). This allows the NSA to act upon any situation that might seem viable at the time. Using supercomputers, the NSA analyzes massive amounts of data including “phone calls, tweets, and social media posts” (Chuck). Recently, the government has been building a massive top-secret compound in Utah specifically for storing electronic data for the NSA. This “1.5-million-... ... middle of paper ... ...phone calls or electronic communications” by having surveillance operations without oversight from the courts, the government “is breaking the law and exercising unchecked executive power”(“Surveillance”).
Final Paper Edward Snowden was an American computer specialist that worked for the CIA and as a contractor for the NSA. He disclosed classified files over several media sources, that were evidence that the NSA was collecting data from the phone calls and internet activities of most Americans. Snowden thought that by revealing these secret government activities that Americans would realized that their privacy is being invaded and that they need to do something about it. President Obama insisted that the government is not invading privacy but is just looking for potential terrorist activities that can be thwarted by preemptive measures. Even after this statement by the President there are those who speculate that the government is "snooping" into their lives and monitoring their internet activity.
Many Americans are uncomfortable with the fact that the government can access their personal phone records and other electronic information, but some privacy needs to be sacrificed to save the lives of others. The NSA has successfully prevented over 50 terrorist attacks since 9/11 due to the new surveillance technology being applied (Sullivan). The NSA tracks the location telephone calls were made from, who was being contacted, and the duration of the call (Mukasey). However, this information is just being collected, and not analyzed (Mukasey). When someone contacts a know terrorist organization, or if there is reasonable suspicion that a person is tied to a terrorist plot, the NSA just has to look in its database to find the information it needs to prevent the attack (Turner).
It accomplishes its mission by bugging electronic systems, using subversive software for sabotaging and intercepting phone conversations and Internet communications of people. Even the financial transactions between banks, all over the world were accessed by the US Government through SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions). The activities of the NSA should be looked upon positively because moves to decrease the NSA’s ability in favor of our liberties will compromise our safety. The lesser information NSA has, the President is likely to make wrong decisions risking the safety of Americans. So the greater the bulk of information the better decision would be forthcoming.
As Martin Luther King said “There comes a time ... ... middle of paper ... ...ed onto by Obama, allowing the wiretapping, searches of business records, and surveillance of individuals (that are ONLY) suspected of being a terrorist or related to terrorist activities. Turns out that those “crazy” people weren’t crazy enough to imagine what the NSA was really capable of. There was the NSA’s climb to power were they used 9/11 to harness our nation’s fear and used it to empower themselves. As of now foreign relations remain stable, but as time passes huge global politics may shift as Edward Snowden and further investigations may prove to reveal more secrets on the NSA. Also, the fiery controversy of whether the compromise of millions of people’s privacy is worth a secure government security is still being debated.