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Pursuit Of Privacy Essay

1929 words - 8 pages

Officially given its name on the fourth of November 1952, the National Security Agency was developed to ensure the safety of American citizens (Howe 11). In an effort to prevent any unauthorized spying on innocent civilians a court known as FISA was created in 1978 to regulate the NSA. Up until the events of September 11th, 2001, the NSA was used strictly as a tool for foreign investigation to decipher international communications (“Frequently Asked Questions About NSA” 1). Twenty-three days after the Twin Towers fell, President Bush passed the Patriot Act (“Timeline of NSA Domestic Spying” 16). This act ushered the NSA into a position of limitless capability. Millions of Americans are ...view middle of the document...

If the National Security Agency sought to spy on a United States citizen a request must be sent to the FISA court (Mears and Abdullah 2). This was in an effort to protect innocent civilians from being fraudulently spied on without reason. Proceeding the events of September 11, 2001, President Bush authorized the Patriot Act (Lee 2). This act allowed for mass collection of metadata in the forms of phone records (calls and texts), emails, location of individuals, and all interactions while on the Internet (Witte 13). This act negates FISA, which is still in effect, but does nothing to stop the surveillance. As well, it violates the rights entitled to us by the Fourth Amendment (“Constitutionality” 50).
The Patriot Act was kept undisclosed until Edward Snowden released top-secret information about the activities of the NSA. Within the documents it was discovered that the government, particularly the NSA, was spying on millions of Americans without a warrant. In an effort to validate the collection of private electronic property the NSA referenced section 215 of the Patriot Act, which says, “Records sought by the government must be relevant to an authorized investigation” (“Constitutionality” 50). They claimed that collecting mass amounts of personal data was “relevant” to “discrete authorized investigations under this provision” (“National Security-Telephone Metadata Collection” 1871). The NSA is indicating that the collection of personal emails, texts, phone calls, and our searches on the Internet are being used to fight the war on terrorism. Also, they claim that American lives are being saved when in reality this is false. Keith B. Alexander, Director of the NSA, admitted that not a single American life has been saved from the NSA’s deliberate spying on 300 million Americans (“Constitutionality” 50). This spying on innocent Americans goes on every day. It has many shapes and forms, but each and every one of them violate personal rights and detracts from the power of the Constitution.
In the current situation, online privacy is essentially non-existent. The NSA has access to every action an individual makes while on the internet.. This includes what is looked at, typed, and scrolled through. Online information like this is collected by gathering tools called “cookies”. These information-collecting tools can be installed directly by the NSA, or by private companies. The National Security Agency has access to pools of data collected by Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, eBay, and many more privately owned corporations (Witte 14-16). The National Security Agency can keep the data in private companies information pools, and at any time they wish they could have access to that material (“National Security-Telephone Metadata Collection” 1878). This data contains all of the information collected by the cookies. Neil M. Richards clarifies that “the government has been buying and borrowing private-sector databases” (1934) to get around...

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