Nsa And Edward Snowden Essay

1576 words - 6 pages

Privacy has endured throughout human history as the pillar upon which our authentic nature rests. Yet, in an age darkened by the looming shadow of terrorism, another force threatens to dominate the skyline and obscure the light of liberty behind promises of safety and security: government surveillance. As an employee of the NSA, Edward Snowden broke his vow of secrecy to inform the public of our government’s furtive surveillance acts, but does this render him traitorous? To answer this, we must first ask ourselves, traitorous to whom? When the very institution established to protect our fundamental liberties intrudes on our privacy from behind a veil of secrecy, should such informed individuals resign from judicious autonomy and become the pawns of an erroneous power machine? Snowden chose to defy the NSA upon recognizing that they had in fact defied the values that our nation was founded upon. Orwellian dystopias are not built in a day, and with each step of further encroachment on our privacy, we lose our ability to explore individuality in an unhindered existence. Shall such a sacred freedom be traded for security? Knowledge proves to be a society’s best protection against such threats to liberty, and the acquisition of such knowledge would have been impossible without a Promethean figure like Snowden to jeopardize his own freedom for the sake of public information. In this sense, Edward Snowden has become a hero of our modern age, sacrificing his own livelihood to warn the world of a growing threat to the authentic human experience.
In June of 2013, Edward Snowden met with a group of journalists in a Hong Kong hotel room, revealing to them– and subsequently citizens around the world– information regarding the NSA’s covert surveillance activities, presenting proof of this in the form of 1.7 million stolen documents. While working for the NSA, Snowden became aware of their extensive trespasses against the privacy of U.S. and international citizens alike. Upon considering the extent of these trespasses, Snowden felt that it was his moral duty, as he stated, “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them”. His provided information showed the use of Internet surveillance programs, and the evaluation of phone records in the form of “metadata”. Many argue that Snowden’s leaking of information has hindered our government’s ability to intercept terrorist plots, by informing the world of the NSA’s capabilities, and therefore allowing terrorist groups to plot attacks beyond the reach of U.S. surveillance. In light of this, Snowden’s leak has indeed made us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks, but does this justify the NSA’s chosen use of power? Since Snowden’s revelations, it has become evident that the NSA consistently uses their surveillance abilities to unjustified ends. One function of the NSA’s electronic data analysis is to find targets for the military’s Joint Special...

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