Don’t Spy On Me Please
“But It Is For Your Safety”
Okay Spy On Me
The catastrophic events that took place on September 11, 2001 dramatically changed the course of our nation, and the world, forever. The American government began an aggressive policy of combating any further attempts at terrorism, at home and abroad, at any cost. One such method was the USA PATRIOT Act, which allowed for the surveillance of US citizens via wiretapping, searches of records, and monitoring of specific individuals suspected of terrorist activities. In the years since, massive whistleblowing efforts like Edward Snowden’s recent NSA scandal have brought to light the extent to which government surveillance has impacted the lives of many.
Some people are just fine with giving away some personal privacy in exchange for security. Many others, though, are not okay with the government monitoring their movements in the name of national security. A recent march on Washington took place last week that saw thousands of protestors demanding that we should “unplug big brother.” That is to say, government surveillance and the PATRIOT Act are unconstitutional (and potentially unethical). Joking about wiretapping of cell phones and text messages, one woman held up a sign saying: “That nudie was for more boyfriend, you pig!” (I was going to make that the title to this blog but decided it could have been misleading for what you were going to read here). Average citizens aren’t the only ones affected by PATRIOT; many companies have had to alter the way that business is conducted to be up to code with the regulations enforced by the act.
But have the PATRIOT Act and subsequent government surveillance efforts actually been effective in minimizing terrorism in the US? How can the government ethically justify spying on its own citizens? These are some of the questions I intend to address through paper two and the white paper. From my initial research and hypotheses, I believe that a consequentialist approach to ethics would justify such an act; the ends of eliminating terrorism justify the means of personal privacy being violated. But I am still not convinced the PATRIOT Act is the reason another 9/11 hasn’t taken place. I can’t think of a topic I am more passionate about that touches on the issues of business, government, and society than this one, and I am looking forward to getting started on this next assignment.