Nsa Surveillance Essay

2624 words - 11 pages

In 2013, classified information from the US government was leaked out to major media outlets. The information revealed a mass surveillance of millions of civilians, including U.S citizens, undertaken by the National Security Agency (NSA) and their UK counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and distributed the information they gathered to other government agencies, such as the CIA and the FBI. This was not the first time an American government agency was caught spying on US citizens. For example, a program that ran from 1945-1978, conducted by the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) and its successor, the NSA, analyzed all telegrams entering and leaving the United States, or Project MINARET, where over 1,600 U.S citizens were targeted for being anti-war in the 1960’s, and included spying on important figures such as Martin Luther King, and Muhammad Ali. Today, however, the NSA has access to more information than any time before, in a digital age where millions of people in the US use the internet, led by the rise of the smartphones and tablets. The NSA made deals with and forced companies to take part of the PRISM surveillance program. Huge companies took part of this program, including AT&T, Verizon, Apple, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Microsoft and more, and these companies are some of the most valuable companies the world has ever seen, in terms of both money and data they have access to. The NSA also ran other programs and claims that these efforts are to prevent future terrorist attacks; the programs are to protect the nation. However, the legality of their actions are questionable at best. Ultimately, this is a question of privacy vs security. Unfortunately for the NSA, privacy matters in this situation due to the vagueness and inefficiency of its programs. The NSA has access to too much sensitive information, and cannot justify its actions when they break several amendments in the US constitution, breaks other laws, and harms the US itself. Its program must be greatly limited, or even stopped.
Ultimately, the NSA’s actions are unconstitutional and illegal. The 4th amendment itself was clearly violated. The 4th amendment states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”. The NSA cannot search through personal information without a warrant, but it does this everyday. Data contained in people’s phones, emails, and other services such as social networks and other websites are private, and to access the data one must obtain a warrant. The first amendment, where it states the freedom of speech, was also broken, placing gag orders to prevent companies and individuals to speak about the program. Lader Levison, the creator of the secure...

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