Sunday, January 22, 2012

Surveillance: A Technique of Control


Surveillance, which means to be watched or observed, is an important way that one person or group can exercise some amount of control over other individuals or groups.

Recall the father's actions in The Road. He regularly used binoculars to scan the landscape and to look for any signs of people or movement. If he saw people at a distance, then the father avoided contact.

Government agencies also use surveillance to exercise control over the population -- this includes domestic populations and international populations. People are closely observed as they pass through security at the airport or when they go through a sobriety road check or when the National Security Agency uses illegal wiretapping to watch people inside the US.

Here are some of the ways that the government uses different kinds of surveillance to exercise control over different populations:

1. The US government and other governments around the world request that Google provide user data. Here is a nice graphic that illustrates the frequency of requests.
2. The US federal government has recently empowered the FBI with greater surveillance powers over the domestic population:
WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention.The F.B.I. soon plans to issue a new edition of its manual, called the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, according to an official who has worked on the draft document and several others who have been briefed on its contents. The new rules add to several measures taken over the past decade to give agents more latitude as they search for signs of criminal or terrorist activity.
3. Some members of Congress (not all members of Congress) are working to pass laws that would empower certain domestic police agencies to gather "geolocation data" -- that is, the information stored on a person's GPS and cell phone that tracks their movement. This would enable the FBI to gather that information.

4. The FBI uses GPS devices to track peoples' movement. Without a warrant, FBI agents secretely attach a GPS tracking device to a person's bumper and monitor their movement.

5. City governments also conduct surveillance. Major metropolitan areas like Washington, DC, New York City, and Chicago have extensive surveillance systems that enable police agents to monitor peoples' activity. Chicago has 10,000 cameras placed around the city, for instance.

Here are my questions for you to consider and thoughtfully comment on:

What do you think?

Surveillance is an important aspect of modern government. Does that mean all government surveillance is justified? For reasons of security, should the government be able to conduct as much surveillance as deemed necessary? Or, can there be too much governmental surveillance? If there can be too much governmental surveillance, where is the limit? Who should be responsible for drawing that limit -- and saying this is the proper amount of surveillance and we will accept no more? And, what are the potential risks to the population if the government collects information on all aspects of peoples' lives? What is the value of having a part of our lives that are outside of governmental surveillance?

56 comments:

  1. Government has a lot of power and having the power to put surveillance cameras where ever they feel fit is something they do very frequently. Although there are alot of cameras to prevent crime, terrorism, and things of that nature its taking away the since of privacy of those citizens that are doing nothing wrong and just want their privacy. I believe FBI and Government will always be able to justify surveillance after the 9/11 events that took place. Which makes FBI and Government agencies become parnoid and wanting to control everyone in the States movement and see what they are doing at all times which isn't necessary and the citizens eyes but the Government see's it as a security blanket to cover their backsides so if anything where to ever happen again like the events of 9/11 they would be covered and people wouldn't be able to say they weren't perpared for those events. I think the President should be responsible to controlling how much surveillance should be used and it should be judged at his own discression and no one elses. I also believe that it takes the sense of peoples lives and they will start and are starting to act like robots so they won't be a target of the government.
    WIlliam Mckenzie
    Politics and Government 100.03

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  2. I believe that surveillence is an important thing to do but i dont think that all government surveillence is justified. I beleieve that if there is a person/group that is a threat to an area, another person, or the United States in general the government should use as much surveilence as they can to track that person or group. I dont agree that the government should be able to track any US citizin they want too. We have our rights and that would be tampering with those rights, especially if there is no reason to be tracking us. If they are watching us at all times it is pretty much taking away all the freedom that we have because they will always be "watching" and that is not right at all.

    Tim Hoover PSCI 100.04

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  3. I believe that government surveillance has been taken a little too far. After September 11th, the government basically now has the power to use surveillance tactics on whoever they want, whenever they want. If they "deem" you suspicious, they can do just about whatever they want to you. I don't think you can just decide if someone is worth using surveillance on or not just based on suspicion. If that's the case should I be able to break into my neighbors house because I "think" he may have stolen something of mine? Or beat up someone because I "think" they are a threat to me? We cannot do this as citizens, so I think the government should have to have a better reason then just suspicion in order to use surveillance on us.

    Ryan Miller PSCI 100:04

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  4. There are many ways in which surveillance plays an important role in security. Like dicussed in class, We need security to feel safe. No one gets upset when surveillance is used to track down a murderer, or a major drug dealer. Sometimes, the government and law enforcement use surveillance illegally. But, once government is using cameras and tracking devices on a normal working citizen just to be kept track of is wrong. That is invading a persons privacy.

    Morgan McDonald P.Sci 100:04

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  5. I think the only reason the government should be surveilling people this way is if they have actual EVIDENCE or PROOF that this person is a true threat to other people. Proof meaning large amounts of weapons in the home or writings that they are going to hurt someone. It seems the government is really paranoid. They think anyone who looks different or is acting "suspiciously" is a terrorist. I think bugging peoples' phones and putting GPS trackers on peoples' cars is a little extreme. There's also the question of 'what good is this doing?' Is the government actually finding out anything useful? I just think since 9/11, everyone is very paranoid about every little thing. They are abusing their power to spy on innocent people.

    Hannah Piper PSCI 100:04

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  6. I believe that having surveillance cameras is very important to the government because they can help with a lot of crimes, murders and terrorism. We also need security to feel safe. Like for example if there are people robbing a bank and there are no cameras then there is strong chance that those individuals will get away. But if we had surveillance cameras then the FBI or Police can take what has been recorded and try to find out who those criminals were. I think the President should have the most surveillance at the white house because there is a lot of people who want him dead. But even though he have a lot of security to protect him then he would need to see whats going on on the outside of his house.

    Kevin Williams
    PSCI 100.04

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  7. Surveillance is very important to maintaining safety, it goes hand and hand with security. This ties back to giving up our freedom and allowing our every move to be watched or documented. The question once agian is how much freedom are you willing to give up for that sense of security. I believe surveillance is essential for for maintianing good security. It is hard to say where the limit is because now there are so many things to be aware of.

    Cody Barrett PSCI 100.04

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  8. Government surveillance means increased security, and as we discussed in class, I'm perfectly okay with compromising some of my Constitutional rights for safety. I'm not sure who exactly gets the power to decide when surveillance will be used, but I'm going to trust that they know what's appropriate. I think that increased surveillance leads to lower crime... and even if there IS crime, those involved have a higher chance of getting caught. I think that better surveillance/security could have (arguably) helped to prevent 9/11... I'd give up privacy over losing my life or losing someone I love in another similar situation.

    Brittany Custer- PSCI 100.04

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  9. The Government should be able to conduct as much survillance as necessay because its for our best protection when the people are out in the public. On the other hand, their can be too much surveillance out in this world where we need our own bubble of space or in some sort of alone time a person needs. The Government is the ones i think should have some sort of sense when to stop the amount of sureilllance because they are the ones who should show when to stop and when to add more surveillance. There are many risks to the population if the government collects info on all aspects of peoples lifes like involving personal space, and time alone which a person always needs The value we have is that by being outside of a governmental surveillance we can just live our life they way we would normal would without somebody always watching you like on every street corner or stores. In some part of rural areas surveillance arent needed because it a wast of technology and money to put that up where no crime or terriost activity will take place but i can see on the other hand why a lot of survillance are up in big cities that makes sense. Brennan Fanning PSCI 100.03

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  10. I believe the government should be able to survey international and national people because of the type of people we have in the world. The world is full of fucked up people but also good people. To keep these good peiople safe and the rest from harming or find those to harm we use survelliance. Now i might say they over step the boundaries of personal space but not freedom of speech or any thing. But really who would want to also look back over there shoulder to see if there mom is on the phone with you as you speak. Its a hypocritcal government and action but yet in still i support it as long as it keeps us from being attacked in safe. Since this surviellence has went up you dont see any bombs from any other nations because the way we cover are ass. While still having are guard up.
    Parris Baxter PSCI 100.03

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  11. Full 24 hour government surveillance over every person in America can never be fully justified for each person, but there are some advantages of "big brother" as it were. The crime rate would decrease signifficantly and any crime that was commited would have clear cut evidance for it. The government should be aloud to have surveillance where it is needed, this need should be regulated by a third party to be elected by the people of the U.S. As humans we don't like being watched, most people when heavely watched have one of two reactions: break down or a lack of productivity in what ever they are doing. The government having to much surveillance over its people could therefor hard the economy by rendering a good many citizens practically useless. The value to not having complete surveillance from the government would be the ability to sit back and think for oneself without the fear of judgment or death if the government doesn't like what you are doing or thinking.
    -Sarah Barry
    PSCI 100.04

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  12. The problem is who gets to decide who should be monitored and who doesn't. Unfortunately the more powerful the government feels it is the less control we as individuals have over our own privacy. I'm reminded of the movie "Eagle Eye" although the idea of a computer system deciding who is to be watched is slightly absurd, the idea that someone can have the power to hear what I'm saying at any given time through a powered down cellphone or while I'm standing on a street corner next to a stop light camera.....is a frightening concept. Not that I'm plotting to do anything but people deserve to have their privacy. Total control does not equal safety or peace so honestly I think the government needs to find better ways to protect us.

    Diana Everhart
    PSCI 100.05

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  13. I think that the government should have the authority to check in on people and follow them only with a good reason. A tip from someone or weird behavior. I don't think that it is right for them to sit around all day and watch people carry on about their lives. There definately should be a limit to how much survalence is a loud in the country. Other government officals should be the ones who check over and say yes we need to watch this person or not.

    Tyler Beard
    PSCI 100.04

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  14. I think there can be too much governement surveillance.There should be limits on how much is allowed in the country. I definietly think airports and things that that should have serveillance all the time. The government should have good reason to survelliance other things though.
    I do agree with a couple people that say "who gets to decide who is monitored and who is not".

    April Cave
    PSCI 100.05

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  15. I don't think the government should surveillance anyone without probable cause. Tracking phones calls and placing GPS's on cars of people living their everyday lives is unnecessary and an invasion on privacy. There should be a limit on surveillance. Surveillances in airports and streets are necessary.I feel that if the government continues with its paranoid behavior of surveillancing everything, life would be very strict and confined.
    -Bianca Redmond

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  16. I guess it depends on who you are. If you were a criminal or terrorist it would upset you. If you were a normal citizen you would feel protected. The worst part is that if you were going about nyour own buissness and something bad happnes the goverment can track you anywhere and use evidence against you they would not normally have. Sure we need security, but do we need this much? I especially think the tracking on the internet is the most bizarre, I knew it existed but I always wondered what the purpose was?

    Joan Conte PSCI 100:05

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  17. In my opinion i think that it can go either way. I do agree that we need to keep surveillance cameras in plenty of areas in the U.S. Because without those security measures we would live in a world of destruction. But there comes a time where you draw a line between enough security and too much security. I feel as though the government should not have the right to go threw peoples trash or search there database without consent. As for the airport security and bank security i feel as though you can never have to much security when dealing with national and federal property. I just think that the government should be given person before they invade our privacy with no probable cause as Bianca said. As for drawing the limits the president should be responsible for that nobody else in politics but the president should have rights to draw the limit.
    Andre' Makell PSCI 100-03

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  18. I believe that in some instances the government has gone a little too far with their surveillance, but rightfully so, since there are many who deserve to have every single move watched. In many books and movies there are criminals sneaking past cops and FBI agents and committing crimes left and right on a whim. It has become commonplace for Americans to be scared out of their minds when going shopping or going on an airplane due to many incidents. This has caused many increases in security, at the risk of our rights apparently. Now we cannot search for answers to homework without the government knowing what our tuesday night assignment was. I believe that some people deserve to have their every move watched, but now it has gone too far that employers and government agents alike can search through facebook profiles along with the agents being able to see what we've looked up on Google. Security makes us feel safe, too much security just scares everyone even more because it makes even the most honest person nervous.
    Brittney Mercer PSCI 100-05

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  19. I strongly agree with Kevin, the use of surveillance cameras is completely necessary to prevent crime and provide some safety within the communities we live in. I also think since the police force doesnt have as many officers as citizens speeding the speed cameras are a good idea. (I am a victim of the cameras) The law is stated on a sign that says "Speed Limit 65". Obviously every citizen thinks they are the exception and wont get caught and speed anyway. The consequence for breaking the law, because you were caught on the speed camera, is a ticket in the mail. The government provides safety for us. Maybe that person will slow down next time their driving and their speeding will no longer be a concern for an accident. The government should have a justified reaon for all the surveillance. If they suspect someone of being suspicious then by all means watch their every move. I feel safer knowing the government is using its power to take people out that are a threat to our country. On the other hand, putting a gps on some random car for the hell of it isnt okay. I cant really say who says the surveillance is justified jsut simply because I really have no idea. Some things are governed by law and some things are governed by our actions.
    Jenny Cavey PSCI 100-04

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  20. I think the government may have taken this a little too far. I think some people may need watched more than others especially if they have committed a lot of crimes lately. I feel that those people that are out on the roads and are putting other citizens in danger, then yes they need to have a tracking device on their GPS to know where they are always at.

    Beth Ann Haymond
    PSCI 100.05

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  21. I think that people will get tired of the government being in every single part of their lives. Surveillance is important, but when it comes to knowing personal matters it has gone to far. I know that I still want to have my privacy. I also know that I do need security, but I think that there is a line that everyone should respect. I honestly do not care about them listening in on conversations because I would rather them know that I am not doing anything harmful than have them think that I am.

    Shelby Knepper
    PSCI 100.04

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    1. the government provides various aspects of surveillance in our everyday environments. i do believe that they can and are over stepping their boundaries. meaning that they have tabs on every person, which is a bit excessive and unnecessary. i think it should be up to the people of the country to decide how much surveillance is used. i would find it completely unnecessary to link a tracking device to cell phones and vehicles. at this point i think that the American people are so desperate for "security" that most would find the governments current surveillance acts completely reasonable. but i would have to disagree with the amount of surveillance taking place because it is to invasive and personal. unless to government has reason to track every persons every move and can provide valid evidence to why they find it necessary to track us, then i wont support the in-depth surveillance.

      Amanda James
      PSCI 100.04

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  22. With the increase of surveillance the government is taking away the rights and freedoms of individuals. Granted it adds security for everyone with a watchful eye on everyone but there are those who probably do not deserve it. Case in point, if a man is acting suspiciously and the government starts deciding to watch him for such activity and come to find out he was not doing anything illegal or out of the ordinary but merely something as seen as immorally friendly the government has wasted valuable resources based on suspicion. However, if an investigation commenced against the same man and after discovering his alleged suspicion to be true then surveillance can be deemed as worthy.

    Blaine G Gibson
    PSCI 100.04

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  23. I do not believe that all government surveillance is justified. I think that justification by suspicion is wrong especially because our government is biased and prone to profiling, which leads to inequality among American citizens. In my opinion there has to be limits to the government’s power, otherwise there is no difference between our government and some facets of a dictatorship. The people should be responsible for setting the limit because you do not ask the people in power to set the limit for themselves.... that would be rather counterproductive. The potential risk of collecting information on all aspects of peoples' lives is the lack of security that people will feel, which undermines the very essence and purpose of our government.

    Chelsea Lemley PSCI 100.05

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  24. The ability to have an aspect of your life outside of the governments little beady eyes is what make us free as a whole, because we can say and do what we please within the constrants of the law and govern ourselfs at home in a way we see fit without grossly violating the laws set before us, when u give the government the ability to do something they will always find a way to abuse and profit from it, as a father i dont want anyone breathing down my neck diciding my every parenting choice for my child. or even analizing where i go or what i do, not that sites dont already do that(in an attempt to provide a better personalized experience) and as long as im not actively breaking laws they should have no right to moniter me, the government will take advantage of us as long as we choose to allow it. Michael Ray Farris

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  25. as to the message above...michael ray farris 100.3

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  26. I definitely think there is such a thing as too much government surveillance, but I hesitate to offer an opinion as to where to draw the line. For instance, the graph provided shows that the U.S. requests far, far more user information from Google than other countries around the world. However, the U.S. is also the subject of far more malicious intent than many of the other countries listed, so perhaps the effort of fighting more threats requires more data. For instance, I think I read somewhere that the U.S. receives thousands - if not millions - of cyber attacks every day. And since I don't personally suffer as a result of the surveillance, it doesn't really bother me; I'm thankful for the security.

    This is not to say, however, that too much surveillance can't or doesn't happen. This being the case, the question of who should set the limit is a complete mystery: it will always be influenced by the individual and the present political climate. Whatever the situation is, however, the idea of having some level of privacy from the government is crucial to our western political philosophy, and our way of life. The First Amendment comes to mind.... So our politicians (and those of us who vote for or against them) need to remember this when making decisions.

    Ian Karraker PSCI 100.05

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  27. I believe that there should be some surveillance of the government to help with security problems. Without security on planes for instance, Americans would be scared to fly because of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. However, there should be a limit on when government surveillance is too much. I think once surveillance is tapping into peoples' personal life is when surveillance needs to stop. Surveillance on planes is not getting into our personal lives, just reassuring security on the plane. I think the geolocation and tracking by gps is too much surveillance. The only time that should happen is when there is evidence of a crime. A sense of life out of government surveillance gives American's the sense of freedom, but still feel secure because there is still some surveillance being done.
    Tyler Messersmith PSCI 100.03

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  28. Talking about this in class has really got me thinking lately how much is too much. When we were watching the PBS clips today in class I was like wow I had no idea this was happening. I think what Bush did was breaking the law. Yes, it is the presidents job to protect us as American citizens but the Vermont senator was right in saying we need some checks and balances back. I also thought it was disturbing when the clips showed the attourney generals testimony and the woman asked if the President had given the authority to do these wire tappings in other programs and the general could not answer. I do feel like some survailance is appropriate but there needs to be a point where the line is drawn. The question is where should this line be drawn?

    Ellen Sassaman PSCI 100:04

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  29. The thing about surveillance is, it's power. Knowledge is power, and the purpose of surveillance is to control a situation by gaining as much information on it as possible. I think too much power is a bad thing, and I think that if not handled carefully and with the utmost respect surveillance could easily be abused.
    Such abuse could come in the form of psychological assault by giving people no privacy at all, having them constantly second guessing themselves because they're afraid to make a "wrong" move. Even further abuse could arise from false or fabricated conclusions being drawn from the overload of information on a "suspect."

    There are a great deal of securities offered by sophisticated surveillance techniques, as was pointed out above, perpetrators of crimes, especially potentially violent criminals will think twice before attacking an area surveilled by networks of CCTV cameras. But I don't think the government should be allowed to make whatever decisions it likes regarding how much privacy people are allowed, or how far they can go in taking it away. I think such techniques as wiretapping, internet tracking, GPS tracking and the like are all useful in their proper place, but I think there should be some sort of probably cause or high risk assessment before they're used in the more extreme ways.

    Example: I don't have a problem with the government tracking an escaped fugitive through a city using his cell phone, CCTV cameras or other surveillance techniques. But, they should know that he's actually someone who needs to be arrested (i.e. someone who is an active threat, like an armed and dangerous man). We have things like warrants for a reason...

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    1. NJW --- full name and class section or I can't grade your Blog comment

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  30. Not all government surveillance is justified, in fact some of this surveillance is hidden from common knowledge for reasons unknown. There are many things the government thinks is nesisary but as we all know some of thoughts things are just plane ridiculous like in class we talked about an American being deemed a terrorist and being held for years without the use of his seances, they did this with no proof. Information is leaked all the time, who says our information will be safe, what will the government do with all that surveillance?

    Stephanie Camacho PSCI 100:03

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  31. I think government surveillance is necessary in our society, although tapping every US citizen is not the right approach to finding persons of interest. The first step would be to find these persons and then use every means necessary to figure out their plan and maybe who they work for and where that person can be located so the entire operation can be taken out.

    Nick Mullican PSCI 100.04

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  32. I think Government Surveillance is very important in protecting our states but i do also believe that there should be a limit on how much surveillance they have on innocent people and there every move. I don't think it would be right for the government to know my every move. I believe there should be a limit on how much Surveillance they use on innocent people, but as much as they need in airport and government buildings ect.
    Aron Shiley PSCI 100.03

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  33. When I first read through this blog entry, I immediately was thinking that I have no real problem with surveillance. If everyone was abiding by the law and living their life in a way that does no harm to others or themselves, then there should be no need for surveillance. Therefore, surveillance is justified because of its purpose to keep people safe and prevent some majorly bad situations.
    On further consideration though, I think of China and its one-child policy, a policy that allows most families to only have one child. With this policy comes strict government surveillance with consequences for families that exceed the one-child rule. While those who have more children are not abiding by the law, they are not doing anything wrong in my eyes. So, in a case like this I can see the downfall of intense surveillance. I personally think that this type of surveillance is too much; however, it does have its pros. This goes to show the subjective nature of the problem of surveillance. The point at which surveillance is too much is completely different to each individual. One person may think that finger printing on licenses is too much surveillance, and another person may think it is completely necessary.
    Due to the fact that I do find the issue of excessive surveillance to be subjective, it is difficult to say who should be the one to draw the line. However, I suppose there should be some form of agreement between the government and its people. The government should not have the right to take away any due process rights or any rights stated in the amendments to the Constitution. At the same time, people need to give up some of their freedom in order to feel secure. Ultimately, I think that the government has our best interests in mind when they set up surveillance measures. It is when they abuse that power that the surveillance is no longer justifiable.

    Heather Webb PSCI 100.03

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  34. Surveillance is important for American security. However, all government surveillance is not justified. I don't think that the government should be able to conduct as much surveillance necessary to keep the American people safe. Illegal wiretaping, secretly placing gps systems under cars without a warrent, and going through people's trash is crossing the line, unless they suspect that someone is a threat. It is an invasion of privacy for those who abide by the laws and who aren't a potential threat.

    Amber Ugorji PSCI 100.04

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  35. Personally, if it is in the name for security, I am okay with the government or the FBI surveilling the city streets, inside schools, or even outside my house. With the wiretapping and GPS tracking I feel as though a warrant must be obtained first and as long as it's for a good reason it can be done. Going through an individuals trash, monitoring phone calls, and putting cameras inside his/her home should be illegal without said warrant or that person's permission. I believe it is up to the people of the U.S. to determine the limit to the amount surveillance the government. Perhaps not everyone would be happy with cameras all over the streets, but the government has to side with the majority. The truth to the matter is that the world isn't as safe as many would like to imagine it to be, and, as long as the government has legitimate reasoning behind it, anything goes.

    Slade McDowell
    PSCI 100.03

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  36. Government is coordinated action aimed at achieving some goal. That main goal today is security and it seems government is willing to do whatever it needs to go to try and keep us secure. I agree with surveillance cameras because they are useful when trying to solve a crime and can be used as evidence. However i don’t agree with government following certain individuals that don’t pose a threat. Just to invade someone’s privacy for the heck of it is wrong

    Jordan Dixon
    PSCI 100.04

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  37. I think that the government should be allowed to use surveillance on public and government owned property, like roads, schools, and parks. However anything that involves private property (i.e. phone taps and searches made on privately owned computers) must require a warrant.

    Ian Keller
    PSCI 100.05

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  38. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING! We have been told that since we were little. Big brother could be your siblings, your parents, other relatives around you, your baby-sitter, or just the neighbors. It could be the school counselor, your teacher, your schools administration staff.

    We go through life KNOWING that someone is keeping an eye on every move we make or don't make. You sit in your car at a red light...look up...there's a camera. Walk into a dept store...again, look up...another camera. Now we have cell phones with GPS. Cars with GPS. Our movements on a desk top, laptop, or iPad/tablet can be tracked.

    The government has, to some extent, the right to track us. Look at the show "Person of Interest". There is such a system out there for the government to use, it may not be some big computer in some secret building deep under-ground or a fortified warehouse somewhere, there is such a device.

    Given all of that, there should be a limitation...or at least a reasonable expectation of a threat - not just a want or desire to look into someones life because you smiled at the stop light camera or speed through a red light on a lonely road in the middle of Kansas.

    Given the history of man-kind, when there is government control by one person(s) or party(s), you end up with Adolf Hitlers, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, or those in our own government who imprisoned many Japanese-Americans during WWII, simply because of their heritage, not the fact that some of them had been born and lived all their lives in the United States. Another prime example of letting government have to much control is Sen.Joseph McCarthy and how one man in government can ruin lives. There were many in Hollywood that were "black listed" because of the House UN-American Activities Committee that started in 1938 and ended until 1954, lasting six long years.

    If government is allowed to continue to go down the road of ultimate surveillance and writing/re-writing the rules as they see fit, then we will end up just like George Orwell's setting in the novel "1984" where anyone can be a spy or an accuser against you and then you have to answer for stepping over a lady-bug instead of killing it (that example is NOT in the book, but just to show how ridiculous it could get).

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  39. Government as a whole does a lot of surveillance. Everywhere you go someone is asked to notify authority about suspicious activity. Are we more afraid of terrorists than that of the people already in the US? Many crimes are committed in the United States alone by US citizens...I am not taking sides of the terrorists but is it that hard for us to do more, telephone tapping isn't the only way of getting into the conversation of terrorists. Lets try to be "flies on the walls" and get into detail of suspectual terrorists. Is this a change of the NORMALITY of life?

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    1. Latavia Smith- PSCI 100:05

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  40. The government should have some surveillance. If I were to try and know everything I would be considered nosey but when the government does it everythings fine. Yes, I do believe in keeping a close eye on suspicious people but not everyone is a terrorist and not all government surveillance is necessary, let alone justified. I think that its a good thing for the most part to protect us I also think they go to far sometimes. Without government surveillance where would we be?
    Kiana Weller PSCI 100:05

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  41. All government surveillance cannot be justified. Even for security reasons, the government should not be able to use surveillance as much as they deem necessary. Who are they to say what is and isn't necessary? There can be too much surveillance intervention in American lives and a line should def. be drawn. As for who should draw that line, well, that's a tough one. The supreme court? Mass popular vote? I don't know. One person may not feel safe til their every move is patroled or til someone else's is. But there are also people like me who feel that there is already too much. Let's just say whoever gets to make the decision of where to draw the line agrees with me rather than the person who wishes for a more extreme surveillance, have my rights of privacy infringed upon their rights of a feeling of personal security???

    -Nikki Lynn
    PSCI 100.03

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  42. I believe in all forms of surveillance to promote safety for the masses. Whether it be as severe as wire tapping or as minimal as the census, surveillance is a necessary evil. If you have nothing to hide then it wont effect your way of life.

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  43. All government surveillance is not justified. Lately, the government has abused their power by spying on Americans without cause or accountability. The amount of surveillance used by the government should be voted on by the people in each individual state because some states are at a higher risk and need more security. If the government collects information from all aspects of peoples’ live, then it will increase the power of the government and reduce our personal freedoms.
    Joseph Waters PSCI 100.03

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  44. I feel like the government is allowed to have some surveillance, but to the extreme. If they are watching everyone, that is a little much. But if someone is giving the gov't reason to follow them then i feel that its ok. Like if someone has been acting suspicious, then they should be tagged. In case they do something bad. But if its just your average joe, then I feel like that becomes an invasion of privacy.

    100.05

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  45. Government surveillance is important and greatly needed. Knowing certain things you are doing could possibly be tracked can effect how people act and prevent them from participating in an illegal action. It is important to ask where the line is drawn when it comes to surveillance, but I think it is especially important to ask how much personal privacy will be be willing to give up when their security may be ensured.

    Lauren Tyree
    PSCI 100.03

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  46. This surveillance is necessary in my opinion because it is extremely helpful for stopping crime. At the same time however, the government needs to have limits because at some point we need to realize how much power we have given to these agencies and think about the risks that this power potentially could present.

    PSCI 100.05 Trevor Mcclain

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  47. I think that the surveillance is necessary to keep us protected, but may be taken to far at some points. People need privacy to a certain extent, however some measures do need to be taken in a time of uncertainty. It comes down to giving up some rights for protection which I personally wouldn't agree with. Since it is already happening though we don't have much choice.

    PSCI 100.03 Skyler Bartles

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  48. "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." This Benjamin Franklin writing, often quoted after 9/11, was used by Franklin in his arguments while addressing the Philadelphia Assembly in 1775. The argument is valid; if we give up constitutional rights as a compromise toward having the government provide increased protection, we run the risk of ignoring, or even destroying, the very freedoms that separate this country from all others. However, when you analyze the statement, two things are often overlooked: "essential" liberty and "a little temporary" safety. When Franklin wrote this, the way to defend oneself or one's property was to see the person posing the threat and pull a trigger on a musket. There could be no way Franklin, or the other framers of the constitution, could have predicted smart bombs, chemical/biological warfare, or planes being used as missiles. When Judge Walker, a Reagan nominated justice from the Federal District court of Northern California, declared that the Justice department was involved in illegal wiretapping, he used a very narrow case to make his ruling. This has led others to jump on the bandwagon and indicate that all government wiretapping is illegal. It's a contradiction; the very people who complain that we overdo wiretapping are the same ones that criticized the Bush administration for not knowing enough to prevent the attacks on 9/11, or perhaps knowing and failing to do anything to prevent them. Since 9/11, the constitution, which was designed to limit government's intrusion into individual and state's rights, has come under steady attack by the very people we elect to defend it.
    The main question is, do we trust the people we elect to office to do the right thing? In a country where most people simply vote based on ideology or, worse, because of the influence of the news or those around them and do very little to research the issues, where more people vote for the next American Idol than the leadership of the nation, we have contributed to the increased notion that we as a people do not have the ability to take care of ourselves and need that Orwellian big brother to watch over us. We have to remember that, although some of these practices are begun with the best intentions, without effective monitoring from over site committees, watch groups, and the built in checks and balances provided by the constitution, what can be a logical step to fixing a serious problem today can become an intrusion that will effect us for generations

    Danielle Francesconi-wolford psci 100.3

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  49. I feel that the government should be allowed some surveillance. It keeps us protected and if people are aware that there under surveillance it would prevent them from doing certain things like illegal activities.

    PSCI 100.03 Stephen Darden

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  50. I feel that too much surveillance is better than too little. If you have nothing to hide, then what's the problem? But i do feel that goverment officials should just focus in on people who the computers pick up on who are being suspicious, not just anyone.

    Brandon Coffey PSCI 100.04

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  51. I feel that too much surveillance can be very dangerous. With a lot of surveillance comes a lot paranoia, for example when we drive somewhere we're not scared that someone is watching us through a satellite, but with too much surveillance that can become a reality.

    To really give an example of extreme surveillance just read George Orwell's "1984" where every move you make, what you eat, who you talk to and what it is about is monitored and "surveilled." That is a possibility when a government has way to much control.

    Do I think that government surveillance is justified yes, in some aspects such as police giving traffic tickets and such, because no one wants to be in a car accident because some idiot ran a red light.

    Greg Woodard PSCI 100.04

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  52. I believe that surveillance can be justified, such as keeping track of criminal activity and prevention. The amount of surveillance necessary is controversial, no one will agree on what is "necessary", and there is no one person or group of people that will be able to have the kind of control over the country to deem how much is actually needed. There would always be a opposing force that would cause unrest. Right now, the amount of surveillance occuring is causing conflict, though the amount of surveillance there is has been relatively agreed upon.

    I do believe there can be too much governmental surveillance, and the line that is drawn is determined by the people being monitored. Even now, there are underground social movement groups that are outside government surveillance, proving people can avoid being monitored if they choose too and/or if the governmental surveillance is too overwhelming.

    James Bentley PSCI 100.03

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  53. I think that the line between too much surveillance and too little of safety is thin. It is a difficult line to draw because sometimes things or people that appear to be "unsafe" or a threat to other's safety could simply be mistaken. So the concept too much surveillance comes into play. However, what if a person's acts in fact are a threat to our safety, then something that could have easily been prevented (with a lot of surveillance) wasn't and people are injured are dead because of it.

    There is always a necessary amount of surveillance needed for safety, it's just the controversy that there will most likely never be an exact agreement on how much truly is necessary.

    Personally, I think that the majority of the examples above are a reasonable amount of surveillance except for cases where the FBI are putting GPS tracking devices on anyone's car that appear "dangerous" or "suspicious". Although, in some cases this could be beneficial to our safety, in most I find it crossing the line into privacy. I think if they weren't able to get a warrant then that's going against our privacy rights. I think trying to find the perfect balance of enough surveillance for safety but still keeping people's lives private is never going to be found equal in everyone's eyes. It will always be a controversial subject.

    Michelle Sentinella PSCI 100.05

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