The Data Mining Controversy: Dark Side of the Government

The age we live in relies heavily on the ease of communication and information. Part of that problem in and of itself lies within the fact that many of the social media sites revolve around accumulating user-generated content. The amount of data amassed from these sites has reached the point where you can Google search someone’s name to find a picture and general information about them. This is a scary notion when compared to historical oppression that was caused by intelligence gathering, especially around World War II. The article, “Is government data mining necessary to keep us safe?” helps unravel the major issues that tech giants like Microsoft and Google are part of; mining and recording internet traffic in hopes to prevent an issue of national security. The NSA is a major governmental agency responsible for what has been referred to as ‘citizen oversight.’

A symbolic representation of the National Seal displaying the Eagle gripping the wires (data) with its talons.
A symbolic representation of the National Seal displaying the Eagle gripping the wires (data) with its talons.

One of their programs named PRISM, is responsible for data-collecting on citizens in order to prevent the catastrophes of 9/11, and any future potential terrorist attacks. It is ever more apparent that Congress has lost its oversight powers in relation to protecting American citizens from government data mining. The system has crippled itself as the technology evolved, where the check and balances for surveillance began to run rampant to the degree where it is now aimed at communication of the American public. In order to safeguard the privacy rights and civil liberties of American citizens, Congress needs to be the first key player in going after the tech corporations who amassed the data to begin with. The slope becomes ever more slippery due to the soul fact that data was handed over ‘simply’ because the NSA asked.

The data mining done by the NSA through major tech giants has proven the system is internally flawed. The day when domestic surveillance is considered an acceptable norm is the day we as an American public lose our right to privacy, on multiple levels simultaneously. Hopefully the public reaction will not be built off confusion because many people lose perspective when it comes to protecting their civil liberties in the information age of the Internet. Without first understanding that your user-generated data on social media sites is available to any person with a decent level of IT skills, you cannot hope to cover your tracks and protect your history. More so, protecting our history is not a privilege we should plead to our government, but a right we should be endowed as citizens.  #protectyourhistory

USA Today Article on the Supposed Necessity of Data Mining

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