Our forefathers with great fortitude put together a document that would be forever known as the constitution. This document addressed the rights of the citizens of the newly formed states. One amendment has been a focal point of discussion in recent weeks with the leakage of NSA protocol.
The fourth amendment states, “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”. With news of the Edward Snowden case and that the NSA has been retrieving phone calls, emails and browser history; Americans are crying foul citing their fourth amendment rights.
In this paper, I plan to argue that the NSA Warrantless Surveillance program is not, in my opinion, a violation of our fourth amendment rights. First of all, the NSA Warrantless Surveillance program is not the first identity to listen in on phone calls. This goes back to the days of phone operators and party lines. Many citizens across the United States had party lines, including my parents, where anyone you shared a phone with could listen in on a conversation. No one complained of their 4th amendment rights being violated in those days. Around that same time the NSA was being created.
The NSA was established on November 4, 1952, by order of President Harry Truman. This decision followed the Nation’s important work in breaking German and Japanese codes during WWII, which contributed to Allied success against the German U-Boat threat in the North Atlantic and victory at the Battle of Midway in the Pacific, and other contributions. As party lines continued to be used, Philips introduced the compact cassette in 1962 which allowed people to record and re-record conversations happening over the party line. Again, because there was little to no expectation of privacy uring these years, there weren’t any large outcries against the other parties who could listen or even record conversations. Additionally, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in addressing the fourth amendment he states, (“PRIVACY, TECHNOLOGY AND NATIONAL SECURITY: An Overview of Intelligence Collection by Robert S. Litt, ODNI General Counsel”, n. d. , p. xx-xx), “under established Supreme Court rulings a person has no legally recognized expectation of privacy in information that he or she gives to a third party.
Therefore, obtaining those records from the third party is not a search as to that person”. Secondly, the NSA Warrantless Surveillance program came as a result of our war on terror, is not illegal and has resulted in the prevention of future terrorist attacks. The forefathers could have never predicted that one day the airplane would be invented, or that large jets full of fuel would be used by hijackers as an act of terrorism against the country. The events of September 11th prompted the creation of the Department of Homeland Security which increased its working relationship with the NSA.
Since 9/11, at least 50 publically known attempted terrorist attacks against the U. S. have been foiled and of these, at least 42 could be categorized as homegrown plots. Knowing that the NSA has prevented the unnecessary deaths of American citizens as a result of their hard work and dedication should be commended and not criticized. Additionally, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, (“PRIVACY, TECHNOLOGY AND NATIONAL SECURITY: An Overview of Intelligence Collection by Robert S. Litt, ODNI General Counsel”, n. d. , p. xx-xx)” These programs are not illegal.
They are authorized by Congress and are carefully overseen by the Congressional intelligence and judiciary committees. They are conducted with the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and under its supervision. They are subject to extensive, court-ordered oversight by the Executive Branch”. In short, all three branches of Government knew about these programs, approved them, and helped to ensure that they complied with the law. The problem is that Americans feel they have a right to know and that there should be more transparency in these agencies.
I couldn’t disagree more. There are, however, dissenting opinions. As recently as this week there were reports that a federal judge sharply rebuked the National Security Agency in 2011 for repeatedly misleading the court that oversees its surveillance on domestic soil, including a program that is collecting tens of thousands of domestic e-mails and other Internet communications of Americans each year. The 85-page ruling by Judge John D. Bates, then serving as chief judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, involved an N. S. A. rogram that systematically searches the contents of Americans’ international Internet communications, without a warrant, in a hunt for discussions about foreigners who have been targeted for surveillance. The Justice Department had told Judge Bates that N. S. A. officials had discovered that the program had also been gathering domestic messages for three years. Judge Bates found that the agency had violated the Constitution and declared the problems part of a pattern of misrepresentation by agency officials in submissions to the secret court.
According to Judge Bates, (“Secret Court Rebuked N. S. A. on Surveillance – NYTimes. com”, n. d. , p. xx-xx), “The court is troubled that the government’s revelations regarding N. S. A. ’s acquisition of Internet transactions mark the third instance in less than three years in which the government has disclosed a substantial misrepresentation regarding the scope of a major collection program Finally, Cybersecurity company policies do not have to be transparent in all areas of operations and employees should understand the inherent loss of privacy. This should be the same for U.
S Government programs. President Obama has declared (“Cybersecurity | The White House”, n. d. , p. xx-xx) that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and that “America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on Cybersecurity”. If the techniques used by Cybersecurity programs are transparent, it ceases to serve the needs of the individual, company or government agencies in an effective manner. We need to be tolerant of the ways in which we are protected in our everyday lives.
I have chosen as my type of primary evidence to be an interview. I conducted the interview with Dan Miller. Dan is someone I have known the better part of my life and I believe he to be an appropriate subject as he is the founder and owner of a company called Historical Solutions. The company is based upon Dan’s knowledge of United States history and exists according to (“Historical Solutions, LLC – Ideas and Inspiration through History”, n. d. , p. xx-xx), “To help people and their organizations, corporations, institutions, and communities use the past to make a better oday and a stronger tomorrow”. The primary thing that I hoped to discover from this interview was whether what I felt to be a good understanding of this issue was in conjunction with someone I have great respect for and who truly is immersed to this information on a daily basis. My interview questions and his answers are as follows: Question 1: In your opinion, at what point in history do you feel the fourth amendment started to be challenged by public disdain or protest regarding how the document has been abused or ignored?
Answer 1: I believe the public’s disdain and protest with the administration and interpretation of the fourth amendment largely began with the war on drugs, particularly as the momentum for that public policy initiative began to diminish in the 1990s. The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) launched by President GW Bush may have revived public support for a looser interpretation of the amendment but now that has shifted in the direction of opposition and to the support of a tighter, stricter focus on the amendment (i. e. no means no).
Question 2:In the last 100 years, what do you feel are the biggest challenges with the fourth amendment? Answer 2:Technology as the intersection of law enforcement and military power. Until recently, these two worlds were largely apart. Now, they are frequently overlapping and interchangeable. The reason they are so is GWOT and its next iteration. The expression of that overlap is information technology and the ability to intercept wireless communications, track people wirelessly, and so forth. Question 3:What is your opinion of the Edward Snowden ordeal, hero or traitor?
Why? Answer 3:I categorize myself as a classical liberal, meaning, that I embrace the 18th century version of liberalism, one focused more on liberty and free individuals than on collective group rights. As a result, I can see the appeal of Snowden’s actions: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. To date, there are no measures to ensure the protection of liberty and freedom in this new IT-oriented national security state, other than to say, as Dick Cheney did recently, that the people who operate these programs are “good people. James Madison would never have said that all we need to do is to find and rely on good people in positions of power and authority, that this will be the bulwark against abuse, misuse, and control of power. I probably wouldn’t like Snowden personally—only an idiot would think Russia and China will protect him—but I can understand the implications of having not acted at all. Question 4:Do you think warrantless searches as a result of 9/11 are a violation of our fourth amendment rights? Answer 4:Yes.
And if warrants are obtained, it needs to be as a result of a vigorous process that emphasizes the protection of liberty and the control of power. Question 5:100 years from now, how do you think American’s will view warrantless searches? Answer 5:Impossible to say but I do know this as a person who spends much of his time thinking about the link between past, present, and future—the view will be different, it may even be scoffing or dismissive, and it not be the last word on the subject, now or then.
It may also be that the national context for hindsight 100 years from now may involve a nation that looks very different from our own, including the number of states in the Union. Question 6:Given that no specific amendment addresses the “Rights to Privacy”, do you feel an amendment will ever be added? Answer 6:No. That’s because two generations from now the understanding of the right to privacy will rest on vastly different technologies. More people will accept a narrower sense of privacy. We’re seeing that already with young people who’ve been reared on hand-held technologies.
Question 7:If a “Rights to Privacy” amendment was added, what do you see as the 3 most significant topics that would be addressed? Answer 7:It won’t be added. Question 8:Given the immediate release of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, do you feel Americans are waiving their rights to any expectation of privacy? Answer 8:Not waving but reshaping. As I mentioned in my response to Question 6, younger people have a decidedly different understanding of privacy than do their parents or grandparents. They will have an expectation of privacy but it will be unlike our own.
They may come to see privacy as the right to individual behaviors rather than as something done by themselves. Question 9:Recalling party lines and the use of an operator, why do you think Americans feel their rights are being violated by Verizon, but very little protest was ever made about party lines and operators listening? Answer 9:Those older technologies accompanied a worldview built around the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. For people of these eras and events, the trust level of the national government was much higher than it is now and what it will be in the years ahead.
They weren’t naive but they were more willing to give the benefit of the doubt to those in positions of power and authority. Not as true today. Also, I think an equally compelling historical metaphor is the rise of the photograph. Modern privacy laws—those currently under pressure to adapt—were really carved out of the late 1800s and early 1900s when people didn’t understand the implications of having their photos taken. Question 10:Ben Franklin has been quoted that (“Benjamin Franklin Quotes- BrainyQuote”, n. d. , p. x-xx), ”People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both. ” What is your opinion of this quote? Answer 10:For one thing, it’s typically Franklin—compact, quotable, pithy, and meaty. He would have been the world’s best tweeter. Second, like every other quote, it emerged from a context and organic nature of events around it. Franklin said it and yet was quite willing to accept the need for George Washington to have the temporary power of a near-dictator during particular stretches of the Revolutionary War.
He also said it as a person who held slaves for at least part of his life, thus denying freedom on a total basis. Having said all that, I agree with Franklin’s sentiment. After all, like me, he was an 18th century liberal. As such, he and I couldn’t help but think alike on this issue. In conclusion, I believe the NSA Warrantless Surveillance program does not violate the rights covered under the 4th amendment, although the lines are being blurred more and more every day. As evidenced by the above interview and research for this assignment there are wide and varying opinions.
My opinion doesn’t necessarily mesh with others on the subject; however I am very resolute in my thoughts. The right to varying opinions and ideas is part of what has made this country great. Today, as a result of the way digital technology has developed, each of us shares massive amounts of information about ourselves with third parties. Sometimes this is obvious, as when we post pictures on social media or transmit our credit card numbers to buy products online. Other times it is less obvious, as when telephone companies store records listing every call we make.
With each transaction, we are waiving any rights to privacy. American’s should be welcoming the added security in the prevention of future attacks instead of criticizing a loss of privacy that truly no longer exists. References The 4th Amendment. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://score. rims. k12. ca. us/score_lessons/bill_of_rights/media/four. htm 50 Terror Attacks Foiled Since 9/11. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. heritage. org/research/reports/2012/04/fifty-terror-plots-foiled-since-9-11-the-homegrown-threat-and-the-long-war-on-terrorism Benjamin Franklin Quotes- BrainyQuote. n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. brainyquote. com/quotes/authors/b/benjamin_franklin. html Cybersecurity | The White House. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. whitehouse. gov/administration/eop/nsc/cybersecurity Frequently Asked Questions About NSA – NSA/CSS. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. nsa. gov/about/faqs/about_nsa. shtml#about1 Historical Solutions, LLC – Ideas and Inspiration Through History. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. historicalsolutions. com/ History of the Recording Industry. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. recording-history. org/HTML/musicbiz6. hp PRIVACY, TECHNOLOGY AND NATIONAL SECURITY: An Overview of Intelligence Collection by Robert S. Litt, ODNI General Counsel. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. dni. gov/index. php/newsroom/speeches-and-interviews/195-speeches-interviews-2013/896-privacy,-technology-and-national-security-an-overview-of-intelligence-collection Secret Court Rebuked N. S. A. on Surveillance – NYTimes. com. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. nytimes. com/2013/08/22/us/2011-ruling-found-an-nsa-program-unconstitutional. html? _r=0 Retrieved from www. law. cornell. edu/constitution/fourth_amendments