Monday, October 13, 2014

Government Secrets

Through the past week, the issue of the government trying to control information from the public has been creating much attention. The major problem in these cases has to do with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the National Security Letter (NSL) statute. Earlier this week, Twitter sued the government for not allowing them to publish how much the national governments demands user information. In the past, many other companies have also tried to do the same things but those cases have ended in settlements. Another court case has been under review by the Ninth Circuit ([Under Seal] v. Holder) which dealt with the issue of the NSL allowing the FBI to get specific information from credit cards, phone records, internet records, etc. without any judicial review or notice to the consumer. This article describes the ways that the government has been carefully leaking information that could look favorable to the government while receiving all the information it can in different ways while the public is not looking. In the conclusion, the author simply questions how much Americans will take of the government’s actions to keep information secret and to surveillance the American people. The ultimate question for the Americans is “How much is too much?”
This article brings up the question of secrecy and surveillance of the American public. The class connects to this topic as the multiple people who were suspected to be terrorists could not be tried due to state secrecy and the loopholes the government has to be able to keep secrets from the American public. These actions exploded after the 9/11 event which kept the government on their toes for terrorists and have been investigating to weed out more and more suspected terrorists. This article shows how deep the government is investigating and the limited information that is given to the public from a democratic government.
I believe that this is a huge problem in the U.S. because the public and the government cannot seem to agree on a good medium to fight terrorism. Many people were terrified after 9/11 and that event was a huge wake-up call for many Americans. However, in result of that, many government actions have invaded American’s individual privacy for the sake of security as a nation. This causes many problems as some people feel that the government is doing too much surveillance on individuals and is taking some operations too far. In class, we’ve seen that there are many instances where the FBI or the CIA has pulled innocent people through extraordinary rendition and use state secrecy as a reason to dismiss cases, which makes me question the legality of the government and the aggressive actions of the government. Is this really what it takes for our country to be safe or is there another way? What does the American public value more: safety or privacy? I believe these questions are next for the American public to answer and must be answered quick.

No comments: