The NSA Files revealed a lot about the workings of the NSA that I previously did not know. What Snowden was able to expose about the NSA was incredible. For years Americans have been recorded, spied upon, and lied to by NSA officials. One moment in the NSA Files that struck me was when the quote “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” appeared. This quote seemed like it would be taken out of “1984” or some other dystopian novel in which Big Brother watched over and surveilled its citizens. It does not seem like the type of thing that would be said in the United States. Yet this quote was used to describe the workings of the NSA, which truly revealed how intrusive the NSA has become.
On November 3 we looked at the piece The Assault on Privacy by Arthur Miller. In it, he warned of the dangers of computers and the ways in which computer technology would threaten informational privacy. As we discussed it, no one seemed too threatened. The ideas of passwords and encryption seemed like enough protection for us. But for Miller, it wasn’t. Instead he explained that the only way to truly protect our information was to have trustworthy information managers with a code of ethics and to eliminate the collection of sensitive information. These protocols seem almost obvious in that they should be done, yet through the NSA readings, it seems like these were not done. For example, Jameel Jaffar explains that the government is collecting extremely sensitive information about people to learn the associations between people. The NSA has tapped into links to access information about millions of Americans and has exploited the law to do so. This is both shocking and disturbing. If we are supposed to be living in a democracy with freedom of speech, how can surveillance of this kind be allowed?
When reading about the NSA I thought it was incredibly interesting how the article and the website looked at the NSA and the government as an enemy. For example, Eric Grosse said “It’s an arms race. We see these government agencies as among the most skilled players in the game.” It is not often that the government is portrayed so openly and so publically as a competitor or rival. Yet in the articles, the NSA’s infringement upon American lives made it the true enemy.