The main issue in the Snowden controversy is the conflicting rights of private individuals and the US government with regard to the use of telecommunications and the internet. There are ethical issues surrounding this controversy and the most applicable ethical approach for this case is “Ethics by Rights Approach”. As a background, the reason why US government had declared Edward Snowden a traitor is his involvement in the leaking of about 1.7 million confidential US documents, 15,000 Australian intelligence files and 58,000 British intelligence files from the National Security Agency (or NSA) to the public. These confidential information were acquired by the NSA through the PRISM program by collaborating with big internet companies such
After leaking of the clandestine surveillance program PRISM which is operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to collect internet communication including telephone calls, e-mails and other files made by millions of American, Edward Snowden is considered as a traitor by some of American politicians. They criticize his conduct violate the law and should be prosecuted. However, most of the ordinary citizens hail Snowden as a hero to reveal the unethical actions taken by American government. A person, through his own decisions and actions, to defend one country and maybe all the countries people’s freedom, is not called a hero, then who else can be called a hero?
The Cold War caused people to question the United States’ government’s reliability and strength, which negatively affected America’s domestic affairs and foreign policies. Citizens lost respect and trust in the government and other civilians, due to several threats within the country and worldwide. People were left questioning their rights and safety due to the second Red Scare, which threatened the coming of power of communism within America. Various forms of propaganda advertised fears, causing panic to spread throughout the country. Russia’s gain of power throughout Eurasia showed off the USSR’s strength and abilities, threatening the Western Powers.
Wrongful convictions have plagued the world throughout history. When crimes are committed the public feels ascertain a way about the situation. Depending on the severity of the issues, the last thing the public wants is for the criminals to get away. The pressure intensifies to catch some one for the crime.
How did it involve Richard Nixon? What was his motive? Were the burglars ever caught? And has it ever been done again since? The Watergate Scandal affected the mental and emotional state of Richard Nixon which lead to the country having several trust issues with future
During what is arguably the most difficult period in U.S. history, Honest Abe expressed his hopes that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The NSA surveillance program goes against this principle. It poses a substantial threat to the social contract and is illegal both domestically and globally. Edward Snowden’s revelations about these activities were done so in the public interest and set him apart from many other Americans charged with espionage by the U.S. government- he is a whistleblower. For this reason, in the eyes of the international community he has committed a non-violent political crime (under the assumption that he has committed a crime).
To begin, government surveillance invades citizen’s privacy and breaks the fourth and first Amendment right that they naturally have. The fourth amendment states that a person has the right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures while the first amendment exercises freedom of speech and religion (United States Constitution). Government surveillance breaks the fourth amendment by searching people’s internet files and databases without a reason; the first amendment is also broken because people no longer have freedom of speech if the NSA is spying on them and what they say is being monitored. The NSA has been spying on citizens for quite some time now to find out what they have been saying or doing. Charlie Savage, an author and newspaper reporter, states in his article
MICHAEL A. SMYTH v. THE PILLSBURY COMPANY United States District Court, 1996 914 F. Supp. 97 How does Judge Weiner explain why Michael Smyth lost any “reasonable expectation of privacy” in his e-mail comments? According to the Cornell University Law School, expectation of privacy is protected by the Fourth Amendment and it safeguards people from warrantless investigations of places, appropriations of persons or objects in which they have a particular expectation of privacy that is thought reasonable. However, this expectation is not absolute, but on a case-by case basis. In other words, reasonably expectation of privacy means that someone who compromises another’s interests in keeping his/her matters from being known can be held liable
They have been successful to misappropriate large quantity of metadata, internet history, chat details, even actual recordings of phone calls etc. The global surveillance leaks confirm that more than ten million online sources have been under surveillance since its inception. This includes even embassies and head of other states, virtually breaking provisions under various treaties and constitution, in existence. It has also resulted in the blatant intrusion of agencies into the sovereignty of another county. This has provoked widespread international debates on the evolving jurisprudence of Right to privacy.
Snowden is called a whistle-blower which is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a person who informs on a person or organization regarded as engaging in an unlawful or immoral activity”. Although this definition highlights the fact that he revealed the potentially unlawful and immoral activity conducted by the National Security Agency, some critics perceive Snowden to be a traitor and therefore thoroughly un-American. These recent events, such as the revealing of Mrs. Merkel 's phone tapping, have torn the world and started a never ending discussion: was Edward Snowden 's release of secret and/or classified information to the general public a betrayal on the state or a blessing to
Again, the standards of use are clear and the expectation of privacy does not survive the government’s interest and already established case law. If using a personal thumb-drive in a government owned device, the employee would not have any rights under the Fourth Amendment for that thumb drive being searched and seized. Is the governments search or seizure unreasonable? It would not be once an employee introduced a device such as a thumb-drive into the government computer. The government has a vested interest in the cyber security of their network.
In conclusion, the USA Patriot Act has long enabled law enforcement to remain above the rules and regulations of the United States legislature. It has resulted in distrust of the American people towards their enforcing bureaucracy. The citizens of the United States have lost their civil rights and have been treated as criminals in penalty of an unknown crime. For too long, police have been able to abuse their power. The Patriot Act has destroyed the public opinion of law enforcement due to technological advances and information collection.
In the book 1984, by George Orwell, the Big Brother, aka the government, is oppresses the citizens of Oceania through spying on them, monitoring every second of their lives, and controlling them through threats and by using this surveillance. The illiberal government in this novel imposes what would be harsh violations of several of the rights Americans have such as their privacy, independence, and freedom. The citizens in the novel are strippe of their all individualism because of Big Brother’s negative influence in their lives. Big Brother justifies that spying on its citizens helps everyone as a group and is necessary for everyone. Today the NSA (National Security Agency) has a striking resemblance to Big Brother as both justify spying with “security” and the “benefit” of the people.
The NSA or the National Security Agency carries out most of the domestic surveillance in the United States. Before the 9/11 attacks the NSA needed approval from a court, but after the attacks, they were given free reign to copy any data that possibly linked to terrorist activities. This led to many arguments over whether this collection of data was unconstitutional or not. The extent of this surveillance shocked many people; many civil rights advocates thought that this surveillance breached United States citizens’ rights. Because of the threat of domestic surveillance in the United States it should be decreased drastically but not entirely stopped.
Government is called to dictate internet content when one incites people to violence with his speech, however, it needs to be a true threat which includes immediacy and an actual intent. For instance, during the Vietnam War, a man expressed that “if he got drafted, his first bullet would be for President Johnson.” The Court detected no threat nor any real intent in the context, therefore, the government had no need to monitor what was being said. If the speech did not pose any likely threats but was regulated by the government, one’s freedom of