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The Legality of the NSA Essay

Decent Essays
After the disclosures by Edward Snowden turned a critical eye to the NSA many people questioned the legality of the acts. The NSA claimed that their work was legal and had prevented many terrorist plots. However, evidence of only four plots was ever found. Even if the acts were founded in law, they still angered large numbers of citizens. Many citizens do not care if the spying is legal, believing that it is morally wrong. Government surveillance organizations have grown to be extremely powerful and are capable of accessing large swaths of personal information; these abilities intrude into the private lives of citizens and need to be curtailed.
The NSA collects information via various means. Some information is taken during transmission
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With this information at hand, consumer trust in the companies dropped significantly; most notably overseas where the NSA has fewer restrictions on what information could not be taken about individuals. This is just a dragnet, a collection of basic information on everybody. If they have a suspect, then they are more specific in their search. In a search for possible associates that might provide information about possible plots the NSA can search three “jumps”, or degrees of separation, from the target. This means that a friend of a friend of a friend of a target can be spied on more so than the usual dragnet approach. This may seem like a relatively small quantity at first, but considering that the average Facebook user has 190 friends, 16% of which are friends with each other, from one subject it is possible that over 5 million individuals can be spied on from one individual. Even a subject having just one friend or associate can result in over 26 thousand individuals being the subject of spying efforts. Of course, there are more ways to retrieve personal information than just phone records and Facebook profiles. The NSA can access any and all e-mail transmissions, the audio and video from services such as Skype, and documents saved on cloud storage services. Cars often have black boxes which record information such as speed, acceleration,
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