It is the duty of the United States Government at the most basic level to protect and defend our Constitutional Rights. The Constitution is the most important document in the history of our country, and the rights that are in it are basic inalienable human rights.
The first thing that a tyrannical government would do is subvert the authority of the Constitution, and deny the citizenry these basic rights.
The United States Government until multiple administrations has denied the public these Constitutional Rights, and has wrongfully infringed upon the liberty of every single American citizen with their harmful and morally abhorrent policies of Mass Surveillance. The 4th Amendment clearly states that, “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.”
Regardless of your views on Domestic Surveillance, one must clearly understand that the purpose of the 4th Amendment was to protect American Citizens from unreasonable searches and to be secure in their home. The NSA is illegally violating our rights by tapping our phones, recording our conversations, and using our electronics to spy on us. I would argue that the policies of bulk data collection and the way in which our government spies on us is reminiscent of 1984, and must end.
The excuse of “National Security” is ridiculous, and it has been proven that bulk data collection does not hinder terrorist organizations in any significant way. There is a price for security, and we are paying the price but receiving nothing in return.
I am not as concerned with terrorists as I am with the government thinking that it is ok to violate the Constitution. What right is safe if we are not entitled to the rights given to us in the Constitution? These policies set a dangerous precedent, and I would argue that it is the responsibility of the American populace to fight for each and every one of your rights.
The problem with bulk data collection is that it is covert. You do not know when the NSA is listening to what you are doing, or violating your privacy. Imagine the outrage if the NSA or any other government agency began driving house to house and seizing guns and ammo? There would rightfully be a rebellion!
There is a line between privacy and security, and for the past 17 years the US Government has been crossing that line every day! The most efficient way to counter potential terrorist plots and other illegal activities is not mass surveillance, it is targeted surveillance on small groups of people, it is impossible to sift through the data that the NSA is collecting.
Our government is not inherently evil, neither is the NSA. However, the most important check on tyranny is the power of large groups of people paying attention to a certain subject. This is something that needs to happen as we go deeper into the Digital Age. There must be clear restrictions on surveillance, and it must be reasonable, and should not be what the NSA is doing right now. We all have a right to privacy, and we must fight for it.
Having an online presence is economically and socially integral to the lives of all Americans. It is how we communicate with others, pay our bills, order things we need. The NSA, corporations, and other entities must respect our privacy, and the people must understand how the government is tracking them online.