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Privacy: The Government Vs The American People

2301 words - 9 pages

The term “privacy” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is “a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people”. The word not is the key message in that definition.
As written by the 4th amendment, every U.S. citizen has the right to his or her own possessions and lifestyles unless there is enough probable cause for this right to be broken.
“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.” –Amendment IV of theU.S. Constitution
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”- Amendment I of the U.S. Constitution

As so declared by these basic rights of the American People, any action taken to seize material without probable cause and the prohibition of free speech, thought and religions can be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court if the wronged party pursues legal action. This law protects against all of a law abiding citizen’s possessions; cars, houses, bags, computers, thoughts and ideas; so why shouldn’t it protect the law abiding citizen’s internet activities? Beginning in 2007 and continuing up until the current year, many internationally acclaimed companies have partnered with the government under a program dubbed “Prism”. This project, under the command of the National Security Agency (Arthur) has been monitoring communications between foreign nationals and U.S. citizens. Why are they examining communications going in and out the U.S.? The NSA has justified their actions under the principle of “Your Data: If You Have Nothing to Hide Then You Have Nothing to Fear” (Domestic).
“In the past, domestic law enforcement agencies collected data AFTER a suspect had been identified” (Domestic). Up until several years ago this was the policy of the NSA, allowing the privacy of law abiding people to go about their daily activities with no fear of being watched. The NSA has defended the creation of the new laws relating to communications monitoring by declaring that by monitoring most activity, criminals can be caught before it is too late. At first glance, this seems a fair and just idea; anything to help save the U.S. from child molesters and terrorists should be allowed, should it not?
However, if one were to look further into the matter one would discover just how much of your daily activities are monitored. A “partial” list of what specifically is being monitored was released from the NSA, “In the spirit of openness and transparency, here is a partial list of current and planned future data collection...

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