The NSA, Privacy and the War or Terrorism

Powerful Essays
Edward Snowden is America’s most recent controversial figure. People can’t decide if he is their hero or traitor. Nevertheless, his leaks on the U.S. government surveillance program, PRISM, demand an explanation. Many American citizens have been enraged by the thought of the government tracing their telecommunication systems. According to 54% of internet users would rather have more online privacy, even at the risk of security (Facts Tagged with Privacy). They say it is an infringement on their privacy rights of the constitution. However, some of them don’t mind; they believe it will help thwart the acts of terrorists. Both sides make a good point, but the inevitable future is one where the government is adapting as technology is changing. In order for us to continue living in the new digital decade, we must accept the government’s ability to surveil us.

The people’s apprehensiveness does not come from the government’s ability to monitor their phone calls. It is the idea that they are listening to their individual conversations. The government needs to communicate to its citizens on the capabilities of the program. Most of the information on the limits of PRISM has come from the data leaks of Edward Snowden. The common consensus is that the government is able to access information by merely advising a meeting with a judge that is not withheld to the public. However, contrary to the popular belief that they are listening to phone calls, they are merely collecting the date and length of each phone call (Stray).

A short background on the laws concerning surveillance will help clear up some misconceptions on the NSA. Back in 1968, the Wiretap Act protected citizens from the government listening to their phone call...

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