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Government Surveillance Vs Privacy Essay

1620 words - 6 pages

The 21st century has brought with it a myriad of technological advancements all designed to make the lives of the developed world much easier, faster, and more fun. These new technologies are not coming without their own set of costs, though. One of the greatest prices people may be paying for their technology is the high cost of the loss of privacy that may come with many of these devices. Jim Hightower, an author for is very worried about what the new technological age will mean for privacy. In his article, “Watch Out -- the Drones Are Coming Home to Roost” ( Jim Hightower proclaims the dangers that an increased number of domestic drones will have on American privacy in an effort to urge the reader to take action against the U.S. government’s unmanned domestic drone policy that Hightower claims is being used to spy on U.S. citizens domestically.

The drones that Hightower is so worried about are, by definition, unmanned air vehicles that are piloted by trained personnel hundreds of miles away, are outfitted with cameras, and can strike using missiles at any time. Hightower employs a broad range of rhetorical figures throughout his article to decry the use of these drones domestically as an unnecessary infringement on U.S. privacy. Early in the article, Hightower employs a metaphor to put into context that the drones are merely “Orwellian Gnats” that the government is putting into our skies without answering any of the public’s questions about them. The metaphor is referring to the Orwell novel 1984 which describes a dystopia in which the government has become out of control and used technology and brain-washing to control a massive amount of people. This metaphor gives the reader the context for viewing these drones. Instead of seeing them merely as devices that can aid in the fight against crime, terrorism, or drugs, with this metaphor the reader can see the drones as part of a government that is focused on controlling and surveying its people rather than protecting them. Another rhetorical figure that Hightower employs is the synecdoche relating the imposition of domestic drones as a part of a greater scheme to provide complete surveillance on American citizens and completely erode privacy. Hightower’s main concern is not just that domestic drones will begin spying on Americans, but that these drones will become just one of many weapons used against American citizens in order to keep them in completely control. Hightower comments that with these drones, “We are on a fast track to becoming a society under routine, pervasive surveillance.” According to Hightower, these drones are becoming part of a much larger, more insidious plot to delve into the privacy of American citizens. This synecdoche much more greatly increases the impact that drones would have on the lives of American citizens. Instead of...

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