Thursday, February 13, 2014

The NSA: National Snooping Agency?

Edward Snowden.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Everyone has been taught that privacy is something that should be respected and should not be snooped about. However, a government organization somehow has the power to break that rule and how the organization is able to look through everyone’s personal devices. Most of the public does not like the fact that their personal affairs are being monitored by a government organization and many people want this snooping to be stopped. This organization is known as the National Security Agency (NSA). Its name alone makes the group seem good and reassuring for the country, and their work could one day save the country from a future act of terrorism. However, the NSA’s work really puts everyone’s personal affairs in the open (for our government). I think that the NSA should not look into people's texts and overhear daily made phone calls through people’s personal devices because they violate several spaces of privacy that people see as unethical.

The National Security Agency has been traced as far back as 1917 when America first started fighting in World War I. The organization’s work has been very discreet in the American public up until June 2013. A former employee for the NSA, a man named Edward Snowden, revealed to the public about what work the NSA was really doing; searching through people’s personal devices and snooping in other countries as well. Snowden released revelation after revelation to the New York Times newspaper which sparked outrage across the country. Marked as a traitor by the US government, Snowden fled to Hong Kong, but he is currently being held in Russia and has been granted asylum. However, his actions, in the eyes of Solhjell (a former environment minister) and Valen, have “contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order”, and Snowden is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (The Independent). Due to the actions of Edward Snowden, the US is now aware of the NSA tapping into the public’s phones and the public is doing what they can to stop the snooping.

The NSA’s snooping in personal devices have caused eruptions of concern amongst the public and one of the biggest is personal privacy. Last December, a US judge delivered the NSA its first legal blow against its phone data collection program. The case made it clear that the NSA’s work interferes with a US person’s liberty and has been deemed unconstitutional. The NSA phone data collection program PRISM has been collecting data about every phone call made in America and these records are kept by the government. According to Al Maurer, “Personal privacy, personal space is rapidly shrinking. The only thing protecting you is the Constitution” (The Washington Times). The NSA’s PRISM program is seen as unconstitutional all across America for their interference of personal space, but what many people don’t realize is that their snooping could be a factor to stopping a future act of violence in America that can be very extreme.

The NSA is being persecuted for its snooping among people’s personal devices, but the agency claims that their work is vital to our country’s safety. In some ways, this statement is true. The “snooping” that the NSA is doing can actually help intercept any calls, messages, etc. that can be pinpointed to a future act of violence against the US. Some people really understand what the NSA is really trying to do and these people criticize the American public of blindly hating an organization that is dedicated to the country’s safety.

Despite the good things that the NSA survelliance can bring, I think the snooping has gone over the line. Thanks to Edward Snowden, the public knows about the NSA’s wiretapping and people are able to start movements that protect their personal rights. The public also knows that they can take a stand against things like the PRISM program to protect their rights. However, at the same time, people can’t blindly hate the NSA because their work could protect the public in the future. Modern society and government needs to find the balance of what the NSA can and can’t look at; the balance between surveillance and what’s sacred.
                                                             Conclusion & Reflection
The National Security Agency has been doing many things that invade many people's privacy. This relates to Digital Citizenship because we talk about how we try to keep online privacy away from getting into the wrong hands of other people or groups. What the NSA does completely takes away that online privacy. This made me feel like that I no longer have any personal space and privacy anymore. I'm sure that many people feel the same way. That's why the NSA's snooping should be limited so they can't gather all the information they can get about an individual. But then again, their work is also helpful a little. I just hope that sometime in the future, we as a nation can solve this issue and find a balance of power for people and the NSA.

The comments that were posted on my blog really challenged me to rethink some of the concepts I researched during this project. Some of the questions were like should the NSA's snooping be illegal? Why do you think Snowden did what he did? How would the world be without the NSA and their snooping? These questions really helped me to better explain some of my key points. I'm really glad about how these comments have helped me to better myself with this project. I hoped that my blog has done more to spread awareness about the NSA's real work and that people will take a stand against it.

This entire process of writing, editing, and commenting on Blogger went great. Google Docs helped me make it easier to write a rough draft, edit that, then finish a final draft which I could easily transfer to Blogger.The other thing I liked about Blogger was how I learned about some other issues involving digital media and how they are affecting my everyday life. I had a load of fun doing this project and I really enjoyed learning about the world of digital media.


  1. Great. Although the N.S.A claims to be protecting us they are still violated privacy laws, which they ought not to do. I can say first hand that nobody wants their telephone calls recorded. I loved this article, keep it up.

  2. This article was very interesting

  3. interesting - Mason

  4. Hi LamRedRanger! Great job explaining and supporting your thesis. I thought this was a very strong and interesting topic. I agree with you to say that the NSA is violating our privacy as a citizen. However, I am also pulled to believed that the NSA is protecting us and violating our privacy may be a good thing. Do you think the NSA should be allowed to see our private information or should it be illegal? Great Job!
    - Tennis123

    1. Hi LamRedRanger,
      I also came up with another question while I was reading your article. How does the NSA snooping in our information have a negative affect on us? As I said before, nice job!
      - Tennis123

    2. Hello Tennis123. Thank you for your reply. To answer your questions, I totally side with the NSA snooping being wrong, but I don't think it should be illegal. Their snooping can help protect us from violence. There just needs to be a limit as to how much snooping the NSA can do to an individual. I also believe that the snooping does have a negative affect on us because it makes people feel like there is no such thing as personal space anymore. Again, thank you for your reply. -LamRedRanger

  5. Hello LamRedRanger, this is a very interesting topic and I learned a lot about NSA from this! You did a very good job at explaining the problem and stating your opinion throughout the paper. I also believe that NSA should not be going through and violating our privacy, but if they didn't do you think that the world would be a lot crazier and there would be more violence? I think that NSA is doing that so that they can know what is going on and to make sure that no one is trying to harm anyone in the USA and if they are, they can stop it as soon as possible. Good job!

    1. Hello BeepMeep. Thank you for your reply. To answer your question, I can see what you mean about there being more violence. You're right. The violence would just increase. But the snooping is still wrong. I believe that the NSA can snoop, but there should be a limit on what and how much they can look in an individual's personal electronic device. Again, thank you for your reply. -LamRedRanger

  6. You make a clear argument that the NSA has crossed a line, LamRedRang. What can ordinary Americans do to try to protect themselves from the overzealous collection of their personal information? Are we to accept the "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about" line? Here's an interesting follow-up to the Snowden situation you might like to read. Sounds like our government is still not sure how much damage the leaked information has done, or what the broad consequences might be.

  7. Hi LamRedRanger, I really enjoyed how you used the term "snooping" in your article. In using a word that many would consider childish, you really hit the nail on the head for what the NSA is doing. I don't think that the NSA should be looking through to the extent that they are, but I do believe that they are helping (at least a little). I am grateful to Edward Snowden for opening my, eyes, and the eyes of many others to what the NSA is really doing. My question to you is, why do you think that Snowden did it? Did he have a problem with what was happening, had he just found out and was furious? Has he mentioned anything like that in any interviews? Great job, this was a really informative piece.


    1. Hello Leta. Thank you for your reply. To answer your questions, I think Edward Snowden did what he did because he felt that the NSA's work was too personal. I believe he felt as if the world had to know because it would create awareness and it could lead to protests to limit the NSA's snooping as much as possible. I think Snowden did it because it was the right thing to do and it was a good thing for people to know about what was really happening to their personal affairs and information. Again, thank you for your reply. -LamRedRanger

  8. LamRedRanger, I hope you will continue to follow this story! Trying to strike a balance between surveillance for the sake of safety and security, and our right to privacy, may be the biggest challenge the NSA faces. How does our government simultaneously protect our constitutional rights and secure the nation? It's a complicated issue, to be sure, and I hope that as you move into Civics you'll keep this incident in mind. Yesterday, this article was published pointing out the damage Snowden's leaks have done to our military operations. "U.S. officials have said that the vast majority of the documents taken by Snowden related to U.S. military capabilities. Less than 10 percent involved domestic surveillance programs that have been discussed more widely." Of course, on the internet, everyone has an opinion, so I like to read the comments, too! Thanks for bringing this story into our class discussions, especially as we look at privacy and our rights and responsibilities online. They aren't just ideas and concepts to study, but real-life issues we must confront and deal with every day! Great job.


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