The National Security Agency (NSA) is a United States government intelligence organization that monitors, collects and process information on a global scale, known as data mining. The NSA gathers information from almost all forms communications and internet activity such as phone calls, text messages, emails, photos and videos by collecting the information from websites like Google, Facebook and phone companies like AT&T. The government’s reasoning for the use of NSA data mining is to protect the country from national security threats such as terrorism. There is great controversy on whether government surveillance should be allowed, some believe that the use of surveillance on US citizens is unconstitutional and not worth the reward. While others say the invasion of privacy is worth it for the amount security it provides. The amount of national security that the NSA provides from data mining US citizens is not worth giving up one’s rights.
The NSA was until recently everything about the NSA was top secret and still much of it is. But over the years people who have worked for the NSA have leaked information on what it is doing. People like Edward Snowden and Bill Binney. Bill Binney who worked for the NSA as a leading crypto-mathmagician told NPR news how after the attacks on 9-11 the NSA began using software designed by him to gather unwarranted information from US citizens. Binney said “I had to get out of there, because they were using the program I built to do domestic spying, and I didn’t want any part of it, I didn’t want to be associated with it,”
Starting sometime in 2013, Edward Snowden, who worked for the NSA as an intelligence contractor began leaking NSA top-secret information to journalists for two years. The journalists have released more than 7,000 documents. The documents revealed many secrets of the NSA for example NSA document that shows a loophole that allows NSA to search through US citizens emails and phone records without the use of a warrant. By doing this the NSA is breaking the 4th amendment which clearly states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” (Constitution Of The United States Of America).
From documents leaked it seems that NSA does just as much data mining on it own citizens as any other people in the world. Snowden said “More communications are being intercepted in America about Americans then there are in Russia about Russians”.(Ted Talk).
NSA surveillance and the fight against terror. NSA began its mass surveillance and data mining after 9-11 to help find terrorists and stop future terror attacks. Searching for suspicious internet activity like looking up how to build bombs or odd calls out of the country. In 2007 the NSA was able to catch a Somali immigrant named Basaaly Moalin trying to send 8,500 dollars to a Somali terrorist group called al-Shabab.
“We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany,” Obama said while visiting Berlin in June 2013. By December 17, 2013 the NSA had prevented a total of 54 terrorist attacks since 9-11. There were 25 in Europe, 13 in the US, 11 in Asia and 5 in Africa. Obama doesn’t talk about all that weren’t prevented though, from 9-11 till the end of 2012 there around 18,900 separate attacks all round the world. When the number of total attacks is compared to the amount that were stopped it seems like much less of an impressive number for the whole NSA to stop only 54 terror attacks over 12 years.
The amount of surveillance that the U.S. government has in place to spy on it citizens is not worth it. The amount of national security that the NSA provides from data mining US citizens is not worth giving up one’s rights.