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Spying and Privacy in American Society - Essay Example

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Summary
Spying and Privacy in American Society Spying has become a central idea in American society since the terrorist attacks in September 2001, as the government has used this tragedy as means by which to increase the surveillance performed on all of its citizens…
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Spying and Privacy in American Society

Download file to see previous pages... The lack of privacy in the United States is a direct violation of our freedom and needs to stop in order for the country to regain the ideals that were implement by our forefathers. In “Take My Privacy, Please!”, Ted Koppel presents the idea that the Patriot Act, while an invasion of privacy, is the least of our worries at this time. He looks at companies like OnStar, which have the power to monitor a subscriber’s every move. That idea can be taken even further, since many cell phones are now equipped with GPS, which can be activated by certain applications and even remotely from a computer. This makes it very difficult to stay away from corporate monitoring. Koppel states that corporate monitoring is even more dangerous than government monitoring because it can be used for marketing purposes. This, however, seems to oversimplify the influence of the Patriot Act. The idea that the government could have access to this essay and could interpret its thesis as being anti-American and, therefore, terrorist in nature is much scarier than a corporate entity learning my television watching habits and sending spam to my inbox. Both privacy concerns are very real, but the Patriot Act is taking us towards an Orwellian society where we are watched 24/7 by Big Brother, which would eliminate freedom as we think we know it very quickly. Amitai Etzioni's article, "Less Privacy is Good for Us", takes more of a stance on the issue of privacy. Etzioni believes that we need to re-examine the idea of privacy and put it into a context that matches up with the problems in today’s society. Much of his argument focuses on immigrant, disease and crime and his argument would hold value if these were the only reasons for this surveillance. He states that countless illegal immigrants end up in the United States because of the government’s inability to track these people. The same can be said for criminals who end up escaping from prison because they can disappear into society and never be found. If everyone was tracked 24/7, however, we could see the need for prison decreased or nearly eliminated. After all, the police would know where every criminal is at all times, so no one would have the chance to commit a crime. The problem is that this would apply to everyone else in society. If you want to walk to your neighbor’s house for a drink after work, you would be monitored. For freedom to truly exist, we need the ability to do things without anyone knowing about them. Under this type of society, the government could prevent you from going where you want to go at any time and would have the means to know if you have disobeyed. This does not make the country safer, but would rather force everyone to live in fear of the government. "The Myth of the 'Transparent Society'", by Bruce Schneier, refutes the idea that a completely transparent society could be the answer to the problem of surveillance. While transparency is a good thing in some situations, it would not work on a wide scale because there are situations where information should be kept secret. Schneier's opinion is reasonable because there has to be a difference in the power between a police officer and a criminal, for example. Taking the privacy away from everyone at every level does not solve the problem because it could lead to a chaotic society. If an ordinary citizen could approach an undercover detective and begin questioning him or her, it could make ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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