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Government Surveillance Ban Essay


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Government Surveillance Ban


The purpose of this thesis proposal is to explain the need to ban government surveillance. For understanding the intent of this paper eight-literature work on government, surveillance is reviewed. Various issues which call for the banning of government surveillance such as unfair punishment, invasion of civil liberty, failure to protect citizenry will be explored; thereby proving why National Security Agency (NSA) programs such as PRISM also known as the Personal Record Information System Methodology should be discontinued.    


            In the summer of 1787, a convention was convened in Philadelphia, and delegates from 13 states drafted a remarkable blueprint for self-government, forming the United States Constitution. The written Constitution did not contain the Bill of Right instead it only indicated the role of government and its responsibilities without clarifying its limitation when it comes to human rights. The American people engaged in an active debate over the inclusion of “bill of right,” the people wanted a strong guarantee that the newly formed government would not trample upon their newly won freedom of speech, religion and press, privacy nor right to be free from seizures and warrantless searches. After four years of confrontation and debate, in the year 1791, Constitution’s framers obliged to the will of people and James Madison drafted the American Bill of Right forming the first ten amendment of the Constitution.

The definition of privacy over the years has been altered to a point where it is losing its objective meaning. The proponents of surveillance programs have been able to initiate policy changes through lobbying and the exploitation of loopholes in the constitution. The role of regular citizens in such matters has been reduced to that of spectators with little regard to how the intended changes affect their ability to maintain certain aspects of their lives private (Hampton et al., 2014). The mere mention of public support on some of the matters has been explored to create a general feeling that the changes carry the general public opinion. This has been critical in ensuring those that employ a contrary ideology on the need for mass surveillance are portrayed unpatriotic. The danger posed by government surveillance emanate from the trend whereby the government agencies tend to seek authorization of the method long after it has already been used on the citizens.

            The US Bill of Rights fourth amendment gives all American people right to privacy. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (2017), the bill of right is enshrined in the America constitution, and it entails the list of important reasons that even the government cannot take away from the people.  One of the recent examples of effects of the bridge of privacy is the hacking of the emails of the former US presidential aspirant Hilary Clinton and that of the Former US President Bill Clinton by WikiLeaks. Enten (2016) stated, “The exposure of the illegal money collection by Clinton’s foundation, the Benghazi attack, and the use of personal emails to sanction government orders, is some of the reasons Hilary Clinton lost presidential race to Donald Trump.” 

The September 11, 2001 attack on the US soil is one of the most horrific tragedies to face the Nation.  Bergen (2011) confirmed, “Al Qaeda hijacked four airlines and carried out terrorist suicide on the World Trade Center in New York City, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon resulted in an extensive destruction and loss of over 3000 lives.” “Following the attack, President Bush administration signed into law the USA Patriotic Act that was intended to provide protection from foreign and domestic threats,” stated by Knights and Odin. Unfortunately, through using the Act, the government has frequently violated the US right to privacy, leading to a decrease in trust between the citizens and the government. According to David Hadley, “The USA Patriot Act is like obtaining business records and imposing gags to the same people holding those records” (EPIC, 2011). In other words, National-Security Agencies were violating American citizen’s privacy by recording their phone calls, which is unethical.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as a violation of Civil Liberties has criticized the use of the Patriotic Act by the government. In their report, the ACLU claimed that the FBI’s Investigative Data Warehouse stocks more than 560 million records of surveillance of the US citizens and by using the America’s telecommunication companies, NSA has tapped into the telephone calls of Americans without a warrant constituting into violation of federal statutes and the Constitution (ACLU, 2017). In August 2006, in a case between the Citizens vs. the Federal government, the Detroit City federal judge ruled that surveillance without a warrant was illegal because it violated the federal statutes and the civil rights. The US court of appeal even though overturned that decision, their argument was based on the plaintiff lack of evidence to prove they were wiretapped but not on the legality of the program (“Top Ten Abuses of Power”). Even though civil protection is paramount, it is important to use ways that do not infringe a person’s right as enshrined in the US Bill of Rights fourth amendment.

Advances in technology have further exposed the citizens to new surveillance methods that clearly indicate a violation of both privacy and ethical obligation of the government agencies. Methods that can be at best described as covert tactics meant to infringe the privacy of citizens have been exploited through consumer technological devices currently in the market. An increasing level of distrust is emerging after revelations that most home appliances especially those that have an internet best connectivity can be used as a spy tool without the slightest knowledge of the users (Risen and Lichtblau, 2005). This includes technologies such as smart TVs which have been reported to be among the appliance that can be controlled remotely and used to correct data such as speech through the microphone. The major question will be the consideration of how safe the citizens feel when even their most private moments could be shared even with third parties without their knowledge.

Literature Review

The calls for a ban on government surveillance emanate from its failure to tackle most of the issues set forth. One such factor has been unlawful surveillance on particular groups of people which have resulted in more damage as deviations are introduced into the reason why such people are surveilled. The society has consistently seen the continued violation of their civil liberties as the misuse of the data continues (Boghosian, 2013). The growing concern has been fueled by the emergence that the surveillance has been a rather ineffective tool in tackling the various sources of security threats to the people. The continued surveillance has instead exposed the citizens to other dangers such as the leakage of private information to the wrong people. Moreover, recent exposures made by whistleblowers within the government agencies has instrumentally led to the consideration that the surveillance contributes to security risk rather than reducing the vulnerability of the society.

Michalak (2011) wrote article reviews disclosing the motives behind people resorting to spying activity. In the article, the author defines espionage as the act of gathering information, storing it and finally handling it over to the foreign intelligence services that might harm the state. The common assumption of the reason behind espionage is money, and due to lack of hard evidence to support this, Michalak addresses the overall concept behind the espionage. According to FBI, Money, Ideology, Compromise, or Ego (MICE) are the primary motives for rendering spying services, a notion Michalak refuted. Michalak argued that MICE motives are usually mixed and idiosyncratic making them the most unpredictable human behavioral causes (Michalak, 2011). Secondly, the motivation of doing something cannot be attributed to personality. Therefore, the driving factors behind espionage included individual inclination, circumstance, and opportunities. Besides, in reviewing Gelles and Pertman literature, Michalak said that money was not the reason for spying against one’s country, but it represents the symbol of success, influence, and tools for raising self-esteem. The PERSEREC decade of study on reasons behind espionage found that in the year 1980s, half of the reason behind surveillance was found to be money, but it was frequently in combination with other motives.

Martin looks at the concept of Nonviolence versus terrorism. Martin rebuked the events on 11 September 2001 terrorist attack, which caused an enormous setback for the cause of nonviolence, which offered numerous ways to oppose and prevent terrorism (Martin, 2002). The government sees nonviolence to have little visibility when it comes to challenging violence and oppression, and as a result, they opt to use a military attack, repression, and surveillance as the incredible response. According to Martin (2002), “the government needs to use nonviolent methods by designing technologies to be robust against attack rather than developing them to increase the need for terrorism example been large power plant rather than the renewable energy-efficient small-scale energy source.” In the light of the September 11 attacks, the author argues the need for technology that fosters a great sense of community solidarity, which will increase the capacity for the nonviolent struggle.

Terrorist attacks have been one of the primary reasons given in support of the need for mass surveillance by government agencies. The media has to some extent been used to popularize the analogy thus helping the agencies to build up support on some of the practices (Beauchamp, 2017). However, considerable shortcomings do exist in the ability of mass surveillance being used as a preventative measure against the attacks. The inconsistencies emerge from the fact that the data collected ambiguous to some extent thus would still require thousands of staff hours to determine the individuals who pose the greatest threat to the citizens. Therefore, the terror attacks continue to occur despite the agencies having collected information on the suspects since there is a constraint as to how much resources can be dedicated to surveilling a lone suspect. 

The problem with spying when it comes to fighting terrorism is the fact that they operate in secrecy thus reducing communication within the agencies and the outsiders enabling small thinking. The author proposes for an open nonviolent intelligence system rather than the US National-Security Agency, CIA, and FBI as it will be more accountable to the public rather than the state elite. Gilliam de Valk supported the view by saying that the need for several agencies was crucial because it brought competition to the agency thus eliminating biased reports of the intelligence agencies (Galliot and Reed, 2016). The pacifist approach helps in addressing other challenges such as tortures, exploitations, poverty, and neocolonialism that foster terrorism.

According to Greenwald (2015), spying is a mean of crushing citizen’s dissent rather than catching a terrorist. Glenn in his book argues that despite the majority celebrates the fact that the intelligence agency watches their back through surveillance programs confined to the minority and deserving group of those “doing wrong,” they misunderstand the goal that drives the intelligence agencies. The intelligence agency does not differentiate the bad from the good because doing something wrong goes beyond illegal act, terrorist act, or violent behavior. For instance, meaningful dissent or any legal challenge to the authority can make an individual monitored using the surveillance programs, an example been Martin Luther King (civil right movement, anti-war activist, environmentalists) and J Edgar Hoovers who were seen “doing something wrong” for opposing the political oppression. In 1971, a group of anti-war movements broke into FBI branch office in Pennsylvania and retrieved FBI counterintelligence program called Cointelpro. The so-called “radicalizers” are put in surveillance by NSA despite NSA itself saying that these people who are neither terrorist or belong to any terrorist group and have no plan for the terrorist attack yet they express different ideas contrary to NSA thus been tagged radical. The files showed how the FBI had targeted political groups such as Black Nationalist movements, the National Association for the Advancement of people of color or the communist organizations and some individuals. The FBI deemed subversive and dangerous. During Bush era, the ACLU obtained documents, which revealed Pentagon surveillance of the Americans student groups, Quakers rather than the Iraq war (ACLU., 2017). The intelligence uses surveillance to destroy people reputation or credibility by exploiting their privacy activities, which include the porn site they visit or marital promiscuity.

The technical barriers that have existed in the past which could have made the aspect of mass surveillance too expensive no longer exist (Boghosian, 2013). One such factor is the speed through which digital data can be processed and analyzed. The increasing performance in computing capability of most devices has meant that required results based on a large sample can be obtained with a click. In addition, the capability allows for the virtual modification of variables which helps to show a variance in the results if changes were to be introduced in the environment. Another feature that has been instrumental in the development of mass surveillance include the growth in storage capacity for digital information. The storage technology has consistently become cheaper over the years coupled with a significant reduction in physical size. Therefore, the agencies result into collecting information some of which is unnecessary in the hope that future analysis will bring forth favorable results.

Cahall, Bergen, Sterman and Schneider (2014) consider NSA’s bulk surveillance programs and explore its ability stops insecurity. The authors talk about the first revelation of NSA spying on the American citizens as exposed by their former contractor Edward Snowden. While in Berlin, President Obama protected NSA move that it had stop 50 potential terrorist attacks. According to the author’s findings, the claim by the NSA director that the program had stopped potential 54 terrorism attaches both here and in Europe- saving real lives, are overblown and even misleading. While analyzing the arrest and prosecution of 225 individuals recruited by al-Qaeda’s or like-minded groups in America shows that NSA’s contribution to this arrest was minimal with tips from the locals’ communities, and the use of traditional surveillance methods provided the initial impetus for the investigations in most the cases (Cahall et al., 2014). The study also found that monitoring of American phone metadata had no detectable impact on preventing the acts of terrorism.

The government claims that the use of American phone metadata is to help NSA and intelligence agency to connect dots of potential threats and act quickly. However, in Moalin case a taxi driver from San Diego who provided $8,500 to al-Shabaab, despite the intelligence the FBI delayed for two months for then to begin an investigation and wiretapped his phone questioning the government notion that the American’s phone metadata is necessary for the expedition and the inquiry process. From 62 individual cases they reviewed, 28 percent of these cases did not reveal the specific methods that initiated the investigation, whereas 37 percent vilified the use of an informant. The findings show that the traditional methods of countering terrorism are sufficient in comparison to the NSA’s surveillance program.

Also, the secrecy of the program is the reason the two attackers of 9/11 who were known to be in the United States. Kaufman’s journal discusses the importance of privacy in biobank research (Kaufman, Murphy-Bollinger, Scott and Hudson, 2009). The research concerned the National Institute of Health and other federal agencies contemplating the creation of a large biobank that could hold data of at least 500,000 people. The collected data information such as genetic analysis should be stored in a national bank for ten or more years. Additionally, their accessibility should be restricted to institution research boards and approved investigators for a broad range of analysis. The harm associated with violation of the privacy and the likelihood of personal privacy exposure from the stored data if identified, made people have resentment of the research. Apparently, over 90% of the respondents expressed their concern about privacy. In addition, 57 % and 37 % were worried about the safety of their information and the probability of this information being used against them (Kaufman et al., 2009). Approximately, 60 percent of the participants were willing to participate in Biobank research as long they were assured that their privacy would be protected to the best of the researcher’s abilities (Kaufman et al., 2009).

 According to Galliott and Reed (2016), in chapter 11 they talk about the ethics of robots in national intelligence activities. The CIA has been using military robots for surveillance and reconnaissance and targeted strikes against suspected terrorist. The authors acknowledge the effectiveness of the robots compared to a human being when it comes to doing national security tasks that are dirty, dull, and dangerous but people’s control remains their potential weakness. The use of robots in human intelligence is emerging example the K5 Autonomous Data Machine with enough cameras, audio, and other sensor technology to capture behavioral logarithms by analyzing various data to predict when a situation may be on the verge of becoming dangerous. The author argues that the use of Spy robots infringes human rights as with this technology blur legal distinction between “searches” and “surveillance” intended to protect the civilian’s privacy. The law requires that law enforcers to provide legal documents, which warrant them for the search due to suspicion something, surveillance by robots do not use.

According to Anderson (1989), government agencies spying is a violation of Article 106. The authors talk about British captain who was hanged after being caught spying in disguise as a Dutch schoolteacher, and within the same four years, Major John Andre was also hanged after been caught behind American lines in civilian clothes. During this time, once a person was confirmed a spy, a man’s death warrant was virtually sealed offense of spying was death. Americans have had little tolerance to the spies from the Revolutionary War to present, and currently, Military Justice Article 106 of the Uniform Cord has never changed. Article 106 mandates that anyone convicted of spying shall suffer death and this has never changed despite societal progress and change of traditions. In 1776, during the Revolution War, the Continental Congress enacted spying as an offense in the United States bit the law only applied to aliens, but in 1862, this changed to cover the US citizens too (Anderson, 1989).

Another major controversy in the surveillance revolves around the role of third party surveillance which is meant to support the various services offered. People have been driven to giving up their liberties to enjoy other benefits such as personalized search engine results. However, the company collect data based on people’s daily routine and later the data is traded off to other players for target advertising and the development of artificial intelligence (Boghosian, 2013). The concern is whether citizens have been cornered to giving up much of their privacy as a result of their reliance on technological devices in managing their daily schedules. Moreover, the Supreme Court has significantly ruled that third-party service providers cannot be held accountable for the ways they choose to use data that users of their products and services have voluntarily surrendered. Therefore, government agencies may still be able to access privy information on citizens collected by such service providers.

Wu (2006) explains the constitutional limit the US government has when it comes to protecting her citizens from unreasonable government intrusion. After the exposure of NSA domestic spying, Wu states that the government tried to defend the need for “warrantless domestic surveillance” when it comes to protecting the lives of Americans. However, “warrantless domestic surveillance” contradicts long-standing restriction on domestic spying and in doing so; the civil liberty to the right of privacy is subverted. The continuous administration protection of the surveillance indicates the government continues disregard to the constitutional separation of government powers. Wu (2006) further argues that the constant spying by the government erodes the American civil liberties and in the wake of September 11, most Americans cared less of the government intruding on their privacy in the name of national security.

NSA was developed and charged with the responsibility of monitoring overseas communications. Unfortunately, NSA has been snooping on the US domestic calls (Knights and Odih, 2002). The Americans expect their government, especially the president, to respect the rule of law as this creates public confidence. All the wings of government need to do their jobs without interference from the other, and the US administration has not been doing on surveillance. In response to NSA domestic surveillance revelation, 56 % of Americans respondents of AP-Ipsos poll said that the government should have warrant while the 42% did not believe if the warrant was needed. The continuous domestic spying has a negative consequence to the nation trust to their government and divides Americans from right and wrong.

Theoretical Framework

Elite Deviance theory explains that the scandals in the contemporary U.S. life are an institutional, sociological phenomenon built in the fabric of the US institutions. Simon (2012) while using the theory said that the Elite Deviance theory is embedded in America fabrics due to the biases of the American criminal justices created to protect the right of the accused person rather than discover the causes of or ways of preventing crime. The preferences in America society as resulted to the system focusing heavily on the individual’s crimes, individual cases, and individual rights. America dominant social structures compromise of the elite largest corporations, the federal government, and the military, with the elite holding these institutions. These positions in organizations have provided them with privilege, prestige, power, and wealth. Due to American justice system targeting individuals and the criminal acts, the elite are untouched creating room for further development of these organizations that violated the law. These organizations determine the societal objectives, priorities, and policies; thus, influence the lesser institutions. Notably, by dominating the smaller socializing institutions (family, education, and religion), they shape the American social character.

Other theoretical perspectives employed in the surveillance research includes the consideration of the role of CCTV in community policing in the neo-Marxist approach. The installation of the technologies has been crucial towards fulfilling the government’s ability in surveillance taking into account the extensive installation in public spaces. The neo-Marxist perspective represents one of the most prominent theoretical approaches used in describing the reasoning behind the increasing interest in government surveillance (Fuchs, 2015). One of the themes advocated through the perspective includes the use of CCTV surveillance as a method of policing regions and specific communities that are considered marginalized either in terms of service provision by the government or economic enrichment opportunities. Such communities tend to exhibit considerable resentment for government authority whereby the various government agencies are viewed as enabling the marginalization. According to the theory, the surveillance activity is used by the government as a way of ensuring that the government gains leverage when countering opposition from such groups.

The neo-Marxist approach also stipulates that surveillance is used by governments to indicate its level of power within the jurisdiction (Fuchs, 2015). The government agencies such as the policing department are expected to maintain law and order in the society. However, the lack of enough resources may make this effort futile since the police cannot be stationed on each block. However, through the use of the various surveillance tactics such as CCTVs, spy software and drones the government can ensure surveillance without having to conduct physical surveillance such as foot patrols. This has a deterrent effect on those who might wish to commit crimes which best indicates the strength of the state. However, the surveillance ideology can be compromised whereby the agencies will use it to target individuals critical of the government regardless of whether the criticism is warranted or not. This has led to the damage of the relationship between the agencies and the societies where people have been extensively surveilled thus the breakage of critical channels of information sharing between the two.

On the other hand, the mind theory states that people tend to think about the beliefs, values, emotions, motivations, thoughts and other things, which are not directly observable to them when they interact with others or when thinking about themselves by guessing what they are thinking and feeling. People predict the intent of others and predict whether they are a threat or likely respond to their distinctly possible action. The major contention has to be how important the consideration of privacy is to citizens as more technologies define the interactions one share with others and the service providers. People have been quick to give up information that would be considered private on the belief that the parties who retain the information will be used as stated. The inability to prove otherwise further complicates the matters. Given that the basic requirements of the surveillance system which include security from both internal and external sources, further compounds the ideology on banning government mass surveillance programs. Effort should be directed to other strategies in surveillance since the negative impacts witnessed outweigh the potential benefits of the current setup.

Research Method

            This study is primary done using secondary data collection together with the quantitative data analysis techniques. Different cases since the enactment of the Patriotic Act by Bush administration were reviewed. All available and confirmed terrorist-related attacks were selected from the CNN Library and other relevant sources. The sites were used as the proxy for both the news corporation in the US and the intelligence communities to compare the effectiveness of the contemporary surveillance program when it comes to stopping terrorism. The modern surveillance techniques use secrecy like the NSA PRISM program or the FBI’s electronic surveillance program.

Findings and Discussion

The analysis of the types of intelligence delivered unusual distinction of the success of the use of intelligence to protect the American people.

  1. Domestic Terrorism

In comparison to the success using either the traditional surveillance or NAS’s PRISM surveillance, the cases reported in the table below clearly shows the rate of the ineffectiveness of surveillance following the success of the listed Islamic terrorist attacks on the American soil. Since the 11 September 2001 attack, there have been various successful terror attacks in America as shown in the table below.

Source: Google database

Link: 1.


DateDomestic Terror AttackNumber of casualties
June 1, 2009.Little Rock, Abdulkarim Mujahid Muhammad shot and murdered one soldier after claiming to be a member of Peninsula terror group the Yemen chapter an al-Qaeda organization.WoundedDead
Nov 5, 2009.Major Nidal Hassan goes on a shooting rampage at a military process at center at Ford Hood, Texas32  13
April 15, 2013.Twin bomb blasts explodes near the finish line of the Boston Marathon2643
Sep 24, 2014.Alton Nolen beheaded a woman at a Vaughan Foods plant in Oklahoma11
Oct 20, 2014.In New York Ismaayil Brinsley shot police officer 2
Oct 23, 2014.Zale Thompson radicalized Muslim in New York City injured police officers with hatchet2 
May 3, 2015.In Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, two gunmen Nadil Soofi and Elton Simpson, opened fire and wounded one person and police officers killed them. ISIS claimed responsibility.1 
July 16, 2015.Mohammad Abdulazzez opens fires on a military recruiting center and a Navy Reserve facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 4
Dec 2, 2015.Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 people in San Bernadino, California where they were attending a holiday party at Inland Regional Center. The two were later killed by the police 14
Dec 14, 2015.Two radical Islamists, Syed Farrok and Tashfeen Malik, while at office holiday party in San Bernardino, California,  shot and murdered 14 people and injured 22 others.2214
June 12, 2016.Omar Mateen, FBI radar, shot and killed 49 people, wounding 53 other at a gay nightclub, in Orlando, Florida.5349
Sep 17, 2016.At St. Cloud, Minnesota, Dahir Ahmed Adan injured nine people by hacking them with a knife at Minnesota mall.9 
Sep 17, 2016.Ahmad Khan Rahami set two multiple bombs in New York City and New Jersy killing 30 people 30
Nov 28, 2016.Abdul Ali Artan, a student living in Columbus, ran over his college colleagues by his car wounding 11 before he was gunned down by the police.11 

Note: Terrorist related to drug wars and cartel violence is not included but only those associated with the radicalized Islamic Terror.

Given the fact that the data in the above table are cases related only to Islamic Terror group, the same groups behind 2011 attack leading to President Bush administration enacting the Patriotic Act, it is clear that the surveillance has not been effective despite the huge amount spent in Defense Department. According to the 2016 Defense Department budget figure, the US government value much about her cyberattack security to the extent of allocating $546 million to protect her privacy, which is ironical as it spies on her citizens. Despite the massive amount of money used in the name of protecting the civilian after spying on them still, NSA’s director revelation of the possible stopped 54 terror cases is absurd. While reviewing the penalty on spying, it is clear that the US have remained dormant in the death penalty for anyone caught spying (Anderson, 1989). According to Kaufaman et al. (2009), research on people concern about their privacy clearly indicates that almost 90 percent of the people do not want people interfering with their privacy. The notion that the PRISM program or any other spying programs in American Citizens are vital has been proven wrong by the data recorded in the above table. All the above cases perpetrators of the heinous act, have been on the radar of the FBI, but apparently non-was stopped. Greenwald in his book said that the Americans were happy with the Patriotic Act due to fear of terror attack as it would ensure their safety by watching a few suspects but recent terror activities have proven that to be wrong (Greenwald, 2015). Also, a study done by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Sociologist Charles Kurzman shows that only 46 from a population of 3.3 million Muslims Americans were linked to violent extremism at home or abroad in 2016, therefore developing a program targeting a marginalized group is raises a lot of questions following the findings. By contrast, the Homeland Security roughly recorded 11,000 Americans killed in a gun homicide in the year 2016 (Beauchamp, 2017).

            Apart from terror, the US government spying on her citizens has political reasons, which are not clear how they help the state of the nation. Edward Snowden, the NAS whistleblower in 2003, revealed that the National Security Agency monitored the phone conversation of 35-world leader (Brown, 2013). According to the report, NSA encouraged senior officials to give them the numbers of the world leaders to add them in their surveillance causing diplomatic tension between the US and its allies with German Chancellor accusing the US of tapping her phone (Ball, 2013; Brown, 2013). The act clearly indicates that NSA’s spying has gone beyond the need of national security. By spying on world leaders, especially allies, which have always come to our aid during difficult time including the 11 September attack shows the level of insecure government Americans has. Using the Elite Deviance theory, America uses the surveillance system for the elite/government to defend their interested. A recent example of the elite ruling is the case of Hillary Clinton usage of private email when serving as the US Secretary of State, and the FBI director was quick to clear her even though she violated the constitution by putting the lives of America in danger (Koplan and Merica, 2016). The continuous usage of these surveillance systems has led to demonstrations and uproar by the civilians for instance on 11 February 2014, 15 countries organized a free demonstration to castigate this act. Gabbat (2014) while reporting for the Guardian in the year 2014 said that tens of thousands of people and organizations bombarded members of Congress with phone calls (more than 18,000) and emails (more than 50,000) as they hold a demonstration across the globe (Gabbat, 2014).


From the literature review, the theoretical framework, and the findings above, it is clear that government surveillance programs do more harm than good. The monitoring program invades civil liberties, leads innocent people to suffer unfair punishments and ultimately fail to protect the citizens that they are designed to safeguard and as a result programs such as PRISM operated by the NSA need discontinuation. The government has clearly proved that they cannot protect the civilians using the surveillance system with the NSA’s reported successful intervention not yet confirmed with other sources due to the highest level of secrecy making the whole system ineffective. The inability of these agencies to work together is one of the reasons there is much surveillance with each group wanting to show they are superior. For example, in the year 1998, a piece of information was shared between CIA to FBI, and the FBI never acted on it. During the congressional investigational on the same document, the investigators found that the CIA shared intelligence with the FBI that a group of Arab terrorists was planning to fly a plane with explosives into the World Trade Center, a report the FBI ignored thus failing to counteract the 9/11 attack. The CIA efficient operation has never involved secret surveillance of the Americans, yet they have done greater compared to FBI and NAS when it comes to collecting information. Juliet Kayyem the former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security while responding to Brussel’s attack said that no American was 100 percent safe. In her argument, she stated that no surveillance, ideology nor wall would stop someone from been radicalized on the social media or from gaining access to guns or shooting the soft target.

Finally, snooping of people own calls and emails as an effective way of protecting people you doubt is annoying, the flipside of the PRISM program is it been used by the enemies if the same data were to fall into their hands or hacked and this has happened in the past. Such information in enemy hands put everyone at risk. Recently, the United States has proved that they cannot keep even the spy data safe. Indeed, the security of the US cyber environment is questionable based on the claims that the ISIS allegedly hacked the US Central Command (Centcom) Twitter account and published pro-ISIS messages. Due to search vulnerability, the NSA surveillance secrets leakage with one of their contractor provides sufficient evidence of how NAS is compromised thus calling for the stoppage of PRISM program is for the better.

The solution to stopping terrorism does not lie in the government ability to snoop on her citizen’s private calls. The Cyberspace is an environment without boundaries, no technology can completely monitor it, and it gives the terrorist their soft target, make propaganda activities to launch the attacks against enemies everywhere in the world. David Fidler, senior personnel at cyber security on Foreign Relations, said that despite the US stopped ISIS from using iPhone, that would not deter them to gain access to another technology which is not from Cupertino California. The loss of trust between the US government and its citizens increases the state’s vulnerability by inviting sympathizers, to do their dirty works for them as in the most of the reported terror cases. The government needs to stop illegal surveillance and instead maximize our defense by implanting strict visa and border controls, sponsors organizations that fight radicalization ideology of Jihadism war, create more jobs, and win citizens trust because they have lost it with these spying activities.


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