Mass Surveillance: Olmstead V. United States

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The ever-changing advances within the massive surveillance program post 9/11, especially in the last decade, has had many negative effects on the relationship between the citizen and the state, our stride towards an open democratic society, and the citizen’s right to personal privacy. With issues arising about cyber security, drone strikes, and using confidential informants in investigations as a form of surveillance, the balance between freedom and security is askew. The meaning of our laws and policies have not been able to keep pace with the advances in technology or the development of surveillance as a whole. The increasing role of surveillance in the state has bred a dynamic of distrust between the citizens and their government. In open…show more content…
“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,” In the 1928 supreme court case, Olmstead v. United States, the court reviewed whether the use of wiretapped private telephone conversations, obtained by federal agents without judicial approval and later on used as evidence, was a violation of the defendant’s rights provided by both the fourth and fifth Amendments. In a 5-4 decision, the court held that neither the fourth amendment nor the fifth amendment rights of the defendant were violated and this case was later overruled by Katz v. United States.In the 1967 supreme court case, Katz v. United States, the court discussed the nature of the "right to privacy" and the legal definition of a "search". The court 's ruling redefined previous interpretations of the unreasonable search and seizure clause of the fourth amendment to count immaterial intrusion with technology as a search, overruling Olmstead v. United States. Katz extended fourth amendment protection to all areas where a person has a "reasonable expectation of…show more content…
Drones kill fewer civilians than any other military weapon but drone strikes target individuals who may not be terrorists or enemy combatants and drone strikes mostly kill low-value targets who are not significant threats to US safety and security. Even with the copious amounts of surveillance conducted on these individuals that are possibly terrotists, the drone attacks on them do not seem justified because of the lack of physical evidence that these individuals were a threat to the United states or to any country. Although drone strikes are legal in the United States and are subject to a strict review process and congressional oversight, drone strikes violate international law. Massive surveillance industrial complex post 9/11, has had many negative and positive effects through out the past decade.The meaning of our laws and policies have not been able to keep pace with the advances in technology or the development of surveillance as a whole. The conception of the surveillance program was an attempt to protect the american citizens from terrorist activity as well as act as a form of counterterrorism abroad in many other countries. These positive aspects of the massive surveillance system show that there is a benevolent practice of surveillance that should be
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