Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is Anything Private? The NSA Doesn’t Think So.

Hi I am super tarrier 2017,
Do you know how much information there is about you on the internet? Do you know who actually sees your “private” information? The NSA or National Security Agency has worked on the government funded program Prism to find your address book and other personal information. According to The New York Times the NSA collects huge charts of data that include Facebook, GPS and property files. I do not believe that the NSA should read the emails, listen to phone calls, read text messages, and collect private data on the people they are trying to protect.

Photo of NSA building by
The NSA annually creates files on American citizens that show who you are, what you do, and who you speak to. They also regularly update, and monitor the files that they have made about these American citizens. The NSA is now building a 1 million sq. foot storage facility in Utah because it has so much data about US citizens and others around the world. This storage facility has a protective wall that cost $10 million and is able to stop a 15,000 pound truck speeding 50 miles per hour. This facility is closed off from the public, and we will never know what happens inside.

According to CNBC you can find 87% of the population with only a zip code, a birthplace and gender. The NSA has worked out deals with data companies and social networks for a back door into everyones profile, or cellular device. Some companies truly try to keep your information safe, while others profit from selling your information to the NSA. According to Dr. Etzioni a Professor at The University of California at Berkley these companies include Facebook, Gmail, Verizon and many more. They take this information they have found in emails, profiles, and texts to put together files of whom you speak to and are in contact with. These files are used to monitor and oversee who works with questionable contacts overseas. The government has a black budget that goes to the NSA and CIA and other intelligence based organizations. With the NSA’s portion of the budget they have upgraded staff, facilities and equipment  over the past few years.

The NSA is not all bad though. They are working overseas to keep our homeland safe. The NSA has worked tirelessly over the past few years with the JSOC or Joint Special Operations Command, to find and kill terrorists in Iraq. Both the NSA and the JSOC have worked together for the USA’s assassination program. Over the past few year the NSA and the JSOC have found, located, and killed 100’s of people working to destroy our homeland. The NSA would intercept electronic signals or phone calls, give them to the JSOC and walk away. A senior command officer from the JSOC said “ We had a field day”(Business Insider) because the NSA was taking all the phone calls from the iraqi people.

The NSA is working to keep it’s homeland safe. With the their new facility in Utah they have the capacity to store as much information as they want. According to Philip Bump a writer for Yahoo news we just don’t know how much the NSA receives in a budget and how much they spend. The NSA does work with the JSOC to stop terrorism but if they are willing to intercept everyones phone calls in a distant foreign nation, what will stop them from intercepting all of our phone calls. The NSA was created in a time when security was simpler and physical. Now that the world has become digital the NSA must change as well, and sometimes change is not for the best. The NSA is designed to protect us, however they need to keep us safe while still preserving the rights of the people they defend.

Updated: November 14, 2013

I now know what the NSA does to protect me. This blog project has really opened my eyes to see past the simple layer of what the government tells me and to look deeper and find what the truth really is. I am left with a few moral questions about the choices with my government, however I do see the reasoning for most of the choices they make. While I do know that the government is here to keep me safe I now because of this project know that I have to constantly search about who can I trust, weather its a politician or a simple online site. The biggest surprise to me during the whole blog project was that social network site will sell your information to other companies and make huge profits off this. The light beam software really caught my attention because of how many people will look at what I search after just a few searches on the internet regardless of cause weather for school or for fun. In the future I plan on using these skills I have learned in this class to make designs about who to trust and who to vote for.


  1. Hi my name is Ariesh

    I agree with your post. Our data isn't private anymore and it is sad. Consider there is a vulture on your shoulder. I agree with the fact that the NSA finding many terrorists but the fact that everything in this country is monitored is crazy. Why would you scan the entire country for one thing that could be a threat? I don't get it, do the NSA think that the terrorists would be dumb enough to post on Facebook where they will attack next? NO. Also the fact that everything is run through the their detection system is worse. Meaning if we use a word from a list of words that is preprogramed into the machines, it will immediately set that data piece aside and re-run it for actual threats. The NSA is a mystery and we will never fully decode it.

  2. Hi Ariesh,
    thanks for reading my blog. I am glad that you agree with my points however the government must keep us safe. The government has chosen to use monitoring as the form of security which has it's pro's and con's. The pro's are that we remain as safe as long as everything is monitored while the con's are that we lose all of our privacy. I don't believe that the government should monitor our every move but I don't believe that total internet privacy is safe even if it becomes passible. The government just needs to find the balance of safety to over powering the people they try to protect. Also a few new programs offer some internet privacy click the link in my blog that takes you to CNBC to see them.

  3. Thank you for writing such a thought-provoking article, Supertarrier2017. You have identified implications of the capture of electronic records from both the personal privacy issue in the U.S. and the targeting of individuals for assassination abroad. Where do you, as a citizen, believe the line should be drawn on what is acceptable? Do you think there should be more information made public about data collection and domestic spying? Do you think the special FISA Court helps to guarantee citizens’ rights to privacy? I am interested in hearing more of your viewpoint on this important issue.

  4. Ariesh is right our data isn't private anymore. Not many things are these days and it is hard to have trust in different websites or organizations when you are giving out a lot of personal information. The fact that the NSA is listening to our phone conversations is scary and frustrating because you want to have a private phone conversation but you don't know if you are being heard by other people. The NSA might be trying to help find terrorists but I don't think they should have the right to listen in on people's phone conversations.

  5. Thank you Thing 1,
    I do agree that it is not right for the NSA to listen in on personal phone conversations, even if it is in the name of security. I also agree that almost nothing is private anymore because we give out all our information signing up to all these little social networking sites. Lastly I was most outraged when I learned about third parties because they just take your information when you least expect it while searching on another site.


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