No Means No: The NSA, Edward Snowden, and Privacy
When Edward Snowden revealed to the world that the National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies were looking into the lives of every American, many people were shocked. While claiming to protect us from crime and terrorism, says Professor James Otteson, the government has been recording every digital transmission we make. They are keeping a record of every email, tweet, phone call, Facebook post, and online purchase. Things we may have thought were private are not safe from the government’s watch.
Should we be alarmed? Some say they don’t care that the government is spying on them because they haven’t done anything illegal. Prof. Otteson disagrees. He says the reason we should worry about these invasions of privacy is because they rob us of the right to say no. When we are able to say no—when a slave can say no to the slave-holder or a serf can say no to a lord, or a child can say no to a bully–we establish a boundary of freedom. This is why privacy is important.
Have you thought much about how you value your privacy from the government? Did Snowden’s revelation cause you to think differently about what the government is doing? Is privacy a bigger priority for you today than it was before Snowden’s revelation? Why or why not?
The Ed Snowden Interview (video): The full official interview with now-famous whistleblower Edward Snowden
Obama Addresses NSA Uproar (video): President Barack Obama discusses, explains, and defends the NSA surveillance programs
Timeline of NSA Domestic Spying [Infographic]: A useful timeline of the NSA surveillance scandal
Cost-Benefit Analysis of NSA Surveillance Says It’s Simply Not Worth It [blog post]: Well, the title says it all…
The Other Side of the Surveillance Story [article]: A Washington Post article explaining the defense of the NSA program by top officials