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All Essays


NSA Domestic Spying
How can it be justified?
www.teresi.us/writing


The National Security Agency (NSA) is storing nearly every e-mail you write and phone conversation you have, ostensibly to reduce terrorism. The NSA can also tell where you are from your phone's movements. At what cost could this be justified? To prevent the 0.00001% of crimes which arise from a foreigner killing people vs. normal day-to-day crime which we are desensitized against yet affects so many more people?

If we could monitor everyone, we could reduce domestic crime 50%, or 90%. Why not tap everyone's phone and open everyone's mail? We could allow a government agent to search our homes every few months. Most people have nothing to hide. Maybe we could prevent a school shooting from ever happening again (those seem more likely than terrorists attacks). Why is terrorism so special?

Our law enforcement has well enough kept crime in check without violating individuals' privacy. A warrant is needed to search personal spaces. There is no "free lunch" in law enforcement that gives them perfect power to see everything we do. Why do we want to grant them this power over our data?

Major internet companies like Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and Google have petitioned the government to only collect data on specific users, rather than bulk collection. Spying on users turns out to be bad for business!

Unchecked government spying ensnares more irrelevant bystanders than actual criminals. History shows our personal information will inevitably be leaked, abused, and used for blackmail and intimidation, especially among the most influential leaders and politicians who attempt to hold government accountable. The people who most need freedom are the first to be silenced.

Freedom of speech is only meaningful on the margins--where it's controversial, dissenting, and challenging of power. It arose from our framers' need to fight an oppressive regime, the King of England. Speech doesn't change anything if it doesn't threaten the status quo, what already exists. "Sure you can say anything you want, as long as people already agree with it" isn't free speech.

What do patriotic Americans stand for today?

"In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression or opinion, and therefore no effective democracy."

Which of our great leaders spoke these words?

Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil. What does it mean that we must look to Brazil's president to stand up for the type of democracy that our very own United States was founded on?

 

By Scott Teresi


     


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