Political Science Research Paper: The NSA Data Leak
Since 2001, post the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon, the United States government has beefed up its counter-terrorism security, under the leadership of both democratic and republican presidents. However, the U.S. is always one step behind the terrorists, or though it seems. Al-Qaeda took to the air, so, the U.S. increased airport security measures (Knowles, 2013). In the last 12 years, so many changes to airport security have been implemented, most, in reaction to terrorist threats; undergarment bombs, shoe bombs, liquid bombs and many others. Traveling through an airport is so difficult because of all these regulations (Hall and Patrick, 2006). In attempt to discontinue this reactionary security, the U.S. is monitoring pretty much all digital activity, both within homeland United States and on foreign soil. While this was all but a theory, thought to be possible but still fictionalized by the likes of Hollywood, earlier this year, an the NSA analyst, namely Edward Snowden, leaked documentation in an official act of treason against the U.S., confirming the existence of such a program (McWhirter and Bible, 1992). Throughout this paper, I will provide sufficient background information and evidence that will analyze directly how the U.S. government and the NSA specifically, breached the rights of its citizens, as well as, offer both sides of the argument for doing so. I will focus on third-party involvement from big data companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook on providing private customer information to the government, both before and after the Snowden leaks. To culminate my research I’ll explore the differences between keeping tab on U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens using constitutional support. The U.S. Government and the NSA Breached the Rights of its Citizens:
The non-governmental organizations, Lawyers, activists and analysts might have supported the information provided by Edward Snowden about National Security Agency’s activities, but the NSA officials consider this act as unlawful treason and punishable in the American court. Intelligence services across the globe have supported the activities carried out by the National Security Agency, stating that whatever they do does not focus on endangering the lives of the American citizens but for the purpose of protecting them against terrorism (Knowles, 2013). It is an obligation for any democratic state to provide sufficient protection for its citizens without interfering with their rights of privacy. For an individual or organization to access any information, certain protocols have to be considered to show how respectful one is in the society (Lee, 2012). Every American citizen is supposed to have a governmentally preserved freedom of expression, thought, and opinion. To achieve this, individuals and agencies entitled with the mandate of surveillance have to note that there is a difference between lifestyle and crime. Therefore, it is for the above reasons that the American people found the National Security Agency to have committed an offense by collecting information from thousands of emails, calls, and other communications, trespassing on the fourth constitutional Amendment - the prohibition of “unreasonable searches and seizures” (McWhirter and Bible, 1992). As of December 16, 2013, not only did the American people disapprove of the NSA data collection, but “a federal judge in Washington ruled…that the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the U.S. constitution” (Roberts, The Guardian). This Amendment bars any individual or organization including the government from getting access to any and all information that is considered private by an individual, unless a court warrant is produced on-scene by the authorities. In 2011, the Foreign Intelligent Surveillance Court (FISC) revealed to the American citizens that the...
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