Government Surveillance Imagine a world where your every move was being monitored. A dark world where it is no secret who you are, where you have been and who you associate with; now Include who you love, who you pray to and what you Just ate for dinner. The word privacy doesn’t exist In such world and It Is such world that we are heading to. “Bldg Brother is watching you! ” This quote by George Orwell couldn’t have been truer. Every aspect of our lives is being sorted through as Big Data this very moment. Government surveillance has prevailed by the name of security. But, is government surveillance of
Internet dealt communications Like social networks, cell phone calls, text messages, and emails really a public service of security? Or is it simply a form of short-term security with long-term dangerous effects to the freedom of the public? How much are we willing to give up in the name of so called security? I believe that the issue of government surveillance of the Internet and dealt devices Is a very Important and relevant Issue In the current day where more and more, both young and old, are logging in to social media sites, buying cell phones, and depending on services like email and “in the cloud” storage.
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The government’s exploitation of Internet and digital data Is slowly chipping away at our privacy, our civil rights and the future of democracy Itself. This Issue doesn’t only affect my own privacy but also more than 75% of Americans that use the Internet. Government surveillance by the NSA (National Security Agency) is not something new. It has been going on for decades, lust without our knowledge. With the recent outbreaks and leaks about the secret surveillance programs. More and more Americans are arising with privacy questions.
The most well-known and recent leaks have been from ex-CIA employee and former NSA contractor Edward Snowmen. It was his leaks that rattled the American community. “He succeeded beyond anything the journalists or Snowmen himself ever Imagined. HIS disclosures about the NSA resonated with Americans from day one. But they also exploded round the world” (Mainsails and Dance). Thereafter, many Americans have come forward declaring answers. Is the government collecting records of our telephone calls?
Is the NSA using sources like Face book or Seep to conduct surveillance on us? The answer Is yes. According to Elizabeth Gotten, co- director of the Liberty and National Security Project, a project that pursues to make ere our human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected, “The director of National Intelligence today [July 31 201 3] declassified and released documents describing the National Security Agency’s (NSA) ‘bulk collection’ of Americans’ telephone records as taking place on a very large scale” (Gotten).
Not only are American’s telephone records being stored as metadata, in addition, a personal profile of many Americans is being constructed. According to former Washington bureau chief Anew Mainsails and multimedia Journalist Gabriel Dance, “Cell phones, laptops, Face book, Seep, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA to build what It calls ‘a tatter of life’, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with and Dance). At this moment, a collection of what is called “Big Data”, being stored by the government for future scrutiny.
However, keep in mind that this is Just a glimpse of what the government has been doing: “But like other aspects of NSA surveillance, virtually everything about this kind of NSA surveillance is highly secret and we’re left with far from a full picture” (Elliot). What we know so far of the surveillance programs that the government conducts, is Just the little information that has been leaked; everything else is still kept secret. This indicates that the government possibly has many other surveillance programs that we are oblivious to. Moment Surveillance programs Why is government surveillance such an issue now if it has been going on for decades? It might be because the growing number of new technology is making it much more easier for the government to spy on its people. Government surveillance in the past was not a big threat due to the limitations on technology; however, in the current day, it has become an immense power for the government. Taylor, author of a book on Electronic Surveillance supports, “A generation ago, when records were sucked away on paper in manila folders, there was some assurance that such information wouldn’t be spread everywhere.
Now, however, our life stories are available at the push of a button” (Taylor 1 11). With more and more Americans logging into social media cites and using text-messaging devices, the more providers of metadata the government has. In her Journal “The Virtuous Spy: Privacy as an Ethical Limit”, Anita L. Allen, an expert on privacy law, writes, “Contemporary technologies of data collection make secret, privacy invading surveillance easy and nearly irresistible. For every technology of confidential personal communication… Ere are one or more counter-technologies of eavesdropping” (Allen 1). Being in the middle of the Digital Age, we have to be much more careful of the kinds of information we put in our digital devices. Some Americans may argue that the government surveillance programs target only foreigners, that we, as Americans, are exempted from this type of scrutiny. They are even reassured by President Barrack Obama in an interview on Charlie Rose: “If you are a U. S. Person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls and the NSA cannot target your emails” (CTD. N Greenberg). However, Edward Snowmen persists that, in fact, American are being arrested: “The NSA … Targets the communications of everyone … It ingests them by default … And it stores them . .. Simply because that’s the easiest, most efficient, and most valuable way. … So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government or someone they suspect of terrorism, they’re collecting your communications to do so” (CTD. In Greenberg). So, who is right? Who is telling the truth?
Clearly, most would believe the trusted President of the United States. It is possible both, in a way, are telling the truth. The answer is to focus on their definition of “targeting”. Greenberg, former executive editor at New Hampshire Public Radio and former Washington reporter for National Public Radio, explains, “Snowmen used the word target in its broadest sense. When Obama defended the program, he used it more narrowly…. As it turns out, FISH [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] uses the word both ways” (Greenberg).
Some sections of the law don’t mention targeting whatsoever and even though some sections, like section 1881, prohibit the NSA to read the e-mails of Americans who are not linked to those emails in its data files” (Greenberg). Nathan Sales, a law professor at George Mason University School of Law, stated, “The law defines ‘electronic surveillance’ to mean ‘intentionally targeting’ a person” (CTD. In Greenberg). Greenberg concludes that “[o]verbal, the law implies that ‘if the acquisition is [unintentional], it doesn’t count as targeting” (Greenberg).
That means, if the information unintentionally appears to be in the files, then it isn’t counted as targeting. Out of the many possible surveillance programs the government conducts, only some have been exposed including: PRISM, Hemisphere, and Tempore. According to privacy and free speech reporter Timothy B. Lee, “PRISM is a system the NSA uses to gain access to the private communications of users of nine popular Internet services” (Lee). These Internet services include Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Backbone, Seep, Apple and other online companies.
Hemisphere is a surveillance program conducted by the phone company AT&T in which the company turns over to the government detailed telephone records. Linda Lye, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, declares, “Hemisphere is deeply troubling, not only because the government is amassing detailed, comprehensive information about people who’ve done nothing wrong, but also because the government has deliberately kept Hemisphere secret” (Lye). Tempore is an electronic surveillance program conducted by the British ECHO (Government Communication Headquarters).
ECHO is like the United State’s NSA. According to Cadmium Schubert, Tempore is a program that intercepts on the fiber-optic cables that transmit Internet data in and outside the I-J “meaning that ECHO is able to directly access large amounts of global internet data” (Schubert). Edward Snowmen adds, in an interview conducted by the German magazine Spiegel Online, “TEMPORE is the signals intelligence community’s first “full-take” Internet buffer that doesn’t care about content type and pays only marginal attention to the Human Rights Act.
It snares everything, in a rolling buffer to allow retroactive investigation without missing a single bit” (CTD. In Stevens). Even as Americans, this program stretches its reach overseas. Actually, according to Cadmium Schubert in his article “A simple guide to Chi’s internet surveillance programmer Tempore”,”The data is shared with the NSA. It is possible that the UK and US intelligence agencies co-operate in order to bypass domestic restrictions… E NSA isn’t bound by I-J restrictions on surveillance of UK citizens and ECHO isn’t bound by US restrictions on surveillance of US citizens” (Schubert). There are many other possible programs as these that have not yet been leaked and are still contained in secrecy. Why is government surveillance an issue? Now, why all the commotion with government surveillance? Is it not in the name of our safety? Surely the government alleges so. However, at what point are we willing to allow the government to go through our personal information?
Like it or not, our privacy is being intruded. Carla Nasty, head of international advocacy for Privacy International, proclaims: Privacy is the fundamental barrier that stands in the way of complete state control and domination. Without it, the social contract is broken, and individuals cannot recognize [sic] their democratic rights to participate, build, grow Interference of the state will not only be deprived of their right to privacy, they will be deprived of their human dignity. For the ability to freely think and impart ideas is essential to who we are as human beings. Nasty) Government surveillance is striping away at our freedom to think and express ourselves. How are we to express our ideas Introit the little warning voice in our head saying, “Beware, the government might be watching”. It is not that we have anything to hide, but with someone “looking over our backs”, we are not able to set forth our opinions. Government surveillance also provides the government with too much power over its people. Nasty grants, “In the past decade we have seen the progressive expansion of government powers to track and control their citizens in the name of preventing terrorism… Hat will ultimately have the effect of creating all-seeing, all-knowing overspent” (Nasty). Allowing the government to store so much personal information gives them an upper hand. Instead of conserving the system of checks and balances in our democracy, we are permitting it to level off. Neil Richards, privacy law expert and professor of law at Washington University in SST. Louis, states, ” It menaces our intellectual privacy and it gives the watcher a power advantage over the watched, Inch can be used for blackmail, persuasion, or discrimination” (CTD.
In Martin). Then, if Nasty is correct when she asserts: The collection of such “communications data” Mould create a treasure trove from which the government could derive vast amounts of information, including who we talk to and for how long; where we go and who we meet; who we bank with, shop with and receive a variety of other services from – creating a detailed profile of our associations, movements, relationships and activities, (Nasty) we are allowing the government to get away with having the advantage to use all of that information to their own benefit.
The risk doesn’t stop there. Not only is the government able to use our information to their own benefit, but also so do private companies. According to Richards, Professor of Law in Instigation University School of Law, “Private companies big and small generate vast fortunes from the collection, use, and sale of personal data” (Richards). This means that Big Data also poses a threat to the balance of consumer power.
Richards adds, ‘For example, the retail superstore Target uses Big Data analytics to infer which of its customers are pregnant based upon their purchases of other products and upon personally identifying data from other sources” (Richards). This allows them to Identify their customer’s “times of relative weakness and allow[s] more effective arresting to nudge them in the directions that watchful companies desire” (Richards). The use of our personal information interchangeably puts us in the lowest level of power between the government and private businesses.
I find it extremely possible that Target isn’t the only company using such data to their advantage. Last but not least, another reason that government surveillance is such an issue is the fact that most of the time, we are unaware of being spied on. Most of the information we have now about the surveillance programs is due to the leaks of the weightlessness. Without them, we would still be in the shadows, oblivious to the major threats aimed at our privacy. Meaning that this information wasn’t meant to be revealed to the public; we were never meant to know of these programs.
Even now, En have no way to be certain of the times we are spied upon. Such secrecy is keep secrets? Dimmit Vitality, author of the recently published book Digital Security and Privacy for Human rights Defenders,comments: Not only are people unaware of the dangers they face when using the Internet, they are actively nonchalant to the fact that ALL email they send and the Internet sites they visit are being recorded, and his information is being stored by global corporations and governments for reasons of homeland security, financial benefit etc.
Where did it all go wrong? How did the Internet – a revolution in global communication, inclusiveness and understanding – turn into a watchdog ready to pounce on us for a wrong word here, a bit of curiosity there? (Vitality 20) Even if we were to ask for answers or press charges, we wouldn’t even know if we were spied on: “We all have a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unconstitutional surveillance. But most of us would never be able to bring a gal challenge because we’ll never know if we were illegally spied on” (Lye).
The Manhole spectrum of government surveillance is not only complicated to the fact of the many surveillance programs, but also because of its secrecy. Should all government surveillance be stopped? Am I then debunking all kinds of government surveillance? Of course not! Government surveillance was created for a reason??safety. The fact that it has been outstretching its limits doesn’t mean that it is evil. We Just have to know how much of our freedoms and our rights are we willing to trade in for security.
As how Gotten explains: That doesn’t mean the US government should never expand surveillance authorities, or that Americans should resolve all trade-offs between liberty and security in favor of liberty. After all, the United States is a long way from a dictatorship. But given the post-WI 1 trend of diminishing legal protections, Americans should not make these choices lightly. And each additional broadening of the government’s powers must be a matter of choice – not passive acquiescence to a secret expansion. When that choice is taken from the citizenry, it is no occasion to ‘calm down” and look the other way.
Gotten) Gotten reasons that as a democratic society and since it is the people who govern, we should also choose if we want surveillance to expand. Obama also acknowledges You can’t have a hundred percent security and also then have a hundred percent privacy and zero inconvenience” (CTD. N Septennial). Surveillance shouldn’t be kept secret from the people. We have the right to know why and how our personal information is being used. The government isn’t as bad as it seems.