NSA: National Security or National Stalkers?
In 2010, it became legal for the National Security Agency (NSA) to access private email logs, social media accounts and other internet databases (Risen & Poitras, "N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens). Risen and Poitras (2013) explain that the intention of this change was to help protect the United States (U.S.) from future terrorist attacks and was for the general purpose of national safety. It is unclear how many terrorist attacks all of this new intelligence has actually prevented, however, it is very clear that the NSA’s actions are violating the privacy of not only American citizens, but everyone who lives on American soil. With the internet as a resource, this means that they can not only listen in to conversations, but access virtually any data that is entered via the internet. This includes credit card numbers, GPS coordinates, flight destinations, contact information for family members, personal pictures and much more. The NSA not only violates the constitutional rights of American citizens, it puts everyone in the country at great personal risk for crimes such as fraud and discrimination. One of the greatest issues with the access the NSA has is that it violates the constitutional privacy laws. The fourth amendment to the Bill of Rights, protects the American people “...against unreasonable searches… but upon probable cause…” ("The Bill of Rights: A Transcription"). Risen and Poitras (2013) reveal that the NSA is not even required to check that the individuals they gather information about are foreigners or have anything to do with foreign relations. This extensive access to all personal data including bank accounts, GPS coordinates and insurance information is the definition of an unreasonable search without probable cause. Everyone’s information is collected and stored before there is any reason for the government to search for it. This is in direct violation of the people’s constitutional rights. Of further concern is the deceit with which the NSA continues to address its capabilities. "Jon Stewart Slams Obama's Domestic Spying Program" explains that although President Obama claimed that emails and phone calls of the general public were not being tracked, it later became evident that this was not the case. It turns out that the internet has become just one more tool for the government to use to spy on its residents. Yet the lies divulged by the NSA demonstrate that not only are Americans being spied on, they have no way of truly knowing which of their personal information is at risk. As a result, it becomes even more difficult to protect oneself from privacy breaches and indicates the NSA, itself, is not an entity that can be trusted. After all, if they are lying about what they are collecting, there is no way of guaranteeing that they are not also lying about other aspects of their operation, including the way in which the personal information is used. Those close to NSA staff members are particularly vulnerable to internet privacy violations. In "Jon Stewart Slams Obama's Domestic Spying Program" a news clip shows that NSA workers have been known to use their capabilities to spy on their loved ones. Clearly the private internet information collected by the NSA can and is misused on a regular basis. According to "The NSA's New Spy Facilities Are 7 Times Bigger than the Pentagon" the agency has thousands of employees who are apparently able to use their resources to spy on anyone they are personally interested in. This could lead to the destruction of personal relationships and very dangerous behavior such as stalking or even murder. Another large group of vulnerable individuals are those who bank online. Anyone who uses the internet to make purchases or even view their banking information becomes at an increased risk of fraud. Not only does the NSA have access to all of their information, the mere existence of it means that it can be hacked...
Cited: "The Bill of Rights: A Transcription." National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration. Web. 31 Aug. 2014. .
"The Constitution." The Constitution. Web. 01 Sept. 2014. .
"Jon Stewart Slams Obama 's Domestic Spying Program." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 01 Sept. 2014. .
"The NSA 's New Spy Facilities Are 7 Times Bigger Than the Pentagon." Defense One. Web. 02 Sept. 2014. .
Risen, James, and Laura Poitras. "N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens." The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 Sept. 2013. Web. 02 Sept. 2014. .
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