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Spy vs. No Spy: Students weigh pros, cons of NSA spying program

Photo from MCT Campus

NSA spying oversteps boundaries, strains U.S. relations

By Cameron M. Bray ’16

Americans learned the truth about U.S. espionage and covert operations when The Guardian’s article on Edward Snowden’s leaks hit newsstands in May.

The revealed secrets about the NSA’s program PRISM, NSA call database and Boundless Informant, quickly drew the public’s eye.

What a bad day for the rights of U.S. citizens.

Thousands read the articles before the U.S. government took action, declaring Snowden a traitor and an enemy of the country.

In the eyes of many U.S. politicians and leaders, Snowden’s radical actions had dealt a catastrophic blow to the United States.

Around this time, Snowden was consulting with more journalists in his cramped room at Hong Kong’s Mira Hotel, divulging more secrets.

“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things (surveillance on its citizens),” Snowden said to The Guardian.

The world was in turmoil. The leaks spread like wildfire. And nothing has been done.

Fifty-four percent of Americans think federal courts and the rules of Congress don’t provide enough oversight on the data the NSA is allowed collect on Americans, according to a poll by The Huffington Post.

Clearly, the majority of the population demands change.

Politicians, however, try to justify the intrusive nature of the NSA’s spying with flimsy arguments, claiming that, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

These statements always bother me.

It ends any discussion on whether the NSA has the constitutional right to monitor U.S. citizens.

It admits that the NSA is monitoring the online activities of U.S. citizens and that our attitude should be to just deal with it, lest we be considered an anarchist, a terrorist or worse.

A second statement almost always crops up as well.

The other argument I’ve heard is that the NSA’s monitoring of U.S. citizens and other online users is used as a tool to counteract terrorism.

While it is true that surveillance programs such as this aid the prevention of terrorism, one question comes to mind when thinking about this: Why do we continue to monitor our allies?

Snowden’s leaks have revealed that our allies’ leaders are being monitored.

Should we not instead just monitor those who actually pose a threat to us, like North Korea or Iran?

Snowden is a hero, not a hero of the United States, but of the world at large.

He has opened up a new venue for international discussion for something that is constitutionally ambiguous.

However, we must keep in mind he has damaged the United States immensely, so in that regard, he is not a hero.

NSA monitoring of its own citizens and online users is just wrong.

It trespasses constitutional rights and strains U.S. relations.

Action needs to be taken and discussion needs to take place.

Otherwise, the United States will sink lower, losing more and more international credibility.

Good reasoning behind NSA spying

By Jace Riley ’16

Information is a global currency that can change how countries act.

Recently the National Security Agency has been reported for tapping phones all over Europe, include that of  the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

There have been reports of listening in on millions of French citizens’ phone calls; however, the most notable and concerning tapping is on Chancellor Merkel.

While this can be looked at as poor judgment since Germany is a close friend of the United States, and may cast suspicious eyes on the United States since phone tappings show that we don’t trust others, there are reasons as to why we should.

The biggest factor is that it is for the public’s safety.

The world is full of unexpected events and people who wish to cause harm to others so we need to be prepared for any action that may occur.

When we tap phones or commit other forms of spying, we can obtain pertinent information that can help us prepare for aggressive actions.

Not only can this keep us safe, we could give other allies the information we obtained.

Another reason why the NSA should be gathering this information is that Germany is an undeclared nuclear state.

This raises concerns as to why they won’t state that they are a nuclear power.

The NSA has used some questionable ways of obtaining information for sure, but they have good reasons.

It is in good judgement that they do these tappings, but if they continue, it needs to be done in more controlled manner.

If the federal government were to restrict the NSA in what they can do, we would still get some information, and in a less severe way than this that does not infringe on the privacy of innocent people.

President Barack Obama has stated that he will now limit the expansive reach of the NSA, which is better than completely stopping the NSA.

Even though there are reasons as to why they should continue, it needs to be monitored  and controlled more than it is now.

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