Excessive Government Internet Surveillance

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Have you ever wondered, How much of my internet activity is being monitored, and by who? The answer is all of the time by many different groups, weather it be retail services accessing your search results to better advertise products to you, or government agencies tapping in to emails or phone conversations without anyone ever knowing. Your internet activity is being monitored at all times that you are online, but how much is too much? This is a very tricky question with many different possible stances on the issue.


While some may argue that there is not much to worry about NSA surveillance anymore after the 2015 USA Freedom Act was passed, but this is just not the case. The 2015 USA Freedom Act ended the bulk collection of of data on large areas such as an entire zip code or state. This is a good first step, but obviously the NSA has loopholes for this, and data is still being collected from perfectly law abiding citizens and violating their rights. One program that was left untouched by the 2015 USA Freedom Act is the PRISM program.


According to Zack Whittaker at zdnet.com, PRISM collects stored internet communications based on demands made to internet companies such as Google Inc.under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms. The NSA can use these PRISM requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier, and to get data that is easier to handle, among other things. Essentially this means that the NSA can go into search engines, and target any specific search and every user that has searched it. This is very alarming because they are also not very specific about how they go about this, or what they do with the data that they obtain. Documentation shows that PRISM is the NSA's number one source of data collection. Another potential privacy breach falls in section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).


Section 702 allows spying on foreign government officials, gathering information relevant to predicting the price of oil, and gaining leverage in negotiating trade disputes. This creates a problem because as the NSA is searching for potential threats and other information, their dragnet catches a lot of other personal information from normal law abiding citizens. According to Sam Bell on tcf.org, In the process of spying on foreigners, the NSA cannot help but collect large volumes of Americans' communications. The intelligence community refers to this collection as incidental, but it includes vast amounts of Americans' conversations, email exchanges, photos, and other sensitive information. This means the the NSA is constantly picking up every day communication between citizens that they have no rights to have access to. One analysis of data shows that targeted communications are actually one tenth as likely to be picked up when compared to non targeted communications.

Now, once the NSA actually does attain information, what they can do with it also isn't very fair or regulated.

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Excessive Government Internet Surveillance. (2019, Jul 31). Retrieved July 20, 2024 , from

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