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The Surveillance Society

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2,507 civilians, 343 firefighters, 72 policemen and 55 soldiers. Lives all taken during the 911 World Trade Center attacks. Due to this, the government enacted the Patriot Acts to be later taken over by the Freedom Act with the purpose of reducing attack and improving safety. These acts then became controversial when national security was prioritized over people’s privacy. The government states that it is constitutional to monitor citizens private communication because it protects national security while not violating the population’s human rights.

Currently, to protect all citizens, the government is tasked with national security; therefore making it necessary to encroach on certain individual constitutional rights. After the 911 attacks, the government cracked down on any future attacks or threats. In The Surveillance Society, it tells how, “Yet within a few hours, their faces were plainly visible on TV screens around the world. It turned out that every nefarious move they made as they delivered their deadly packages to Boston Street had been scanned and stored by surveillance cameras. Their quick capture was a triumph for law enforcement.” This proves that the government prioritizes national security and since they focused so much on finding these terrorist, they achieved their goal within a short period of time. The help of security cameras were the reason they caught the suspects with such ease. The government installed programs whom’s sole purpose is to protect the nations security, the NSA and FBI. “I can say is, is that in evaluating these programs, they make a difference — (audio break) — to anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity.”, says Obama. Referencing to the NSA and FBI as programs that are put in place to keep national security. Being a credible source as the president, he is saying himself that it these programs do work. Accordingly, the approval of government programs that are used to protect the nation from any terrorist attacks like the one that occured at the Boston Marathon allow for encroachment when it is used for the priority of national security. Ultimately, the encroachment of certain individual constitutional rights is in fact needed to maximize the amount of security the government can provide.

In addition to national security, is the integrity of the constitution and the privacy of citizens it is sworn to protect. The privacy of the public or in fact how little there was under the Patriot Act was the main concern people had towards it. The act was made to “enable the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect information they considered to be potentially helpful in preventing future terrorist attacks.”, as told in Patriot Act- Freedom Act. The problem people had was that this act took away all of their privacy since their phone and texts could be intercepted and seen. Surveillance Society adds to this point with the line “the rise of technology is shattering even the illusion of privacy.” But as Obama says in his speech, “ I think it’s important for everybody to understand, and I think the American people understand, that there are some trade-­‐offs involved.” These tradeoffs being that there can not be a governing force with the role of protecting without allowing them to intervene with people’s privacy. But, the Freedom Act protects privacy by only allowing for any records to be look at if they are to be used during an investigation and they must be approved to be valuable to the investigation

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