Is the Government Spying on You?


Photo via Flickr under Creative Commons license

Edward Curry, Freelance Writer

In many works of art, you will eventually come across a dystopian setting, where the government monitors everything you do with no regrets. Novels like George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four depicts a gray future, with the government spying on everything you might do. With big tech on the rise, and a smartphone in literally everyone’s pockets, is this the type of society that we are secretly living in? No one really knows, but there is a lot of strong evidence to prove this.

In the United States, the National Security Agency is America’s intelligence agency that focuses mainly on keeping America secure and safe and working with cryptology, which is the study of codes and the process involved in writing and solving them. However, some people do not believe that the NSA works solely as a security agency, some believe the agency works under the radar, focusing more on spying on the American citizen and monitoring their every move. In 2016, it was reported that the NSA collected 151 million records of phone calls in the United States. This should be surprising to Americans even after Congress met to limit the ability to collect bulk call records. This meant that the NSA had been collecting phone calls longer than you really think, which is very alarming to our personal right to our own security and privacy. The NSA’s reason for collecting phone calls is that it could trace down ties to suspected terrorists and end any malicious plot against the American public. In 2015, the USA Freedom Act was enacted to limit the NSA’s collection of phone calls, meaning that they are still doing it regardless of this act.

Some consider that the NSA is going against our natural rights and the law of the land as a sovereign and free nation. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in the United States has warrants on the NSA to only spy and gather information on 42 suspects that may be connected with terrorism. Still, the NSA spied on more than a million Americans nationwide. In countries other than the United States, the United Kingdom for example has installed nearly 4 million to 5.9 million CCTV cameras as of 2016. That number is only expected to get bigger. Even in our own village, Lindenhurst has experienced its own mass surveillance measures. Just as of 2018, Village Officials installed dozens of cameras around Lindenhurst to help deter crime, but is that the real reason, or is there a darker and more sinister reason to this? Lindenhurst even promises to install more cameras around the town to help stop crime in the future.

Global surveillance has occurred in many forms, even if it’s not digital. Dictatorial regimes in the past century has had its own share of surveillance of its citizens. Current nations like China have been spying on its Muslim population for awhile and now and have even used advanced technology to engrave QR codes on personal belongings that when scanned, bring up personal information about the owner. What the future holds for international surveillance is unknown, but we should take a stand as some of our rights are being stripped from us in the sense our privacy. We need to take a stand and let the governments of the world know that we aren’t some lab specimen to be observed.