What is this surveillance thing anyway and why does it matter to us?
The safety of the citizens of the world is always the number one priority when the topic of Internet Surveillance comes up in discussions in politics around the world. For people that are extememly against being tracked fully online, accroding to the New American, “For Internet freedom activists, though, government regulation or control of the Internet is off the table and non-negotiable. First of all, the U.S. Constitution does not allow even the federal government to regulate the Web, much less the UN; and if either gets its foot in the door, restoring liberty online would be extremely difficult (2012).” The U.S. and the world need to know that the government is not trying to see what you did at that party last weekend, they want to know if you are engaging in suspicious activities online.
When one talks about internet surveillance and how it relates to the political environment, you have to discuss the Patriot Act. This website defines what the Patriot Act actually entails. http://www.fincen.gov/statutes_regs/patriot/ Within this website it is said that the Patriot Act is in place to help to “enhance law enforcement investigatory tools” (Fincen.gov). This is important for the safety of the United Sates Citizens, especially after the Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Internet surveillance is something that we all have to deal with. Although, in the political sphere, it is something much more prominent. It is something that government officials have to deal with every day. They are suing tracking tools to see what people are doing and also be scrutinized at the same time. The way that the government and Internet surveillance are intertwined allow for a safer place to call home. If the United States government is tracking our every move, whether it be on social media or our Google searches, we need to know that it is for the safety of the United States citizens. Without this tracking and big brother watchdog methodology, the government would not be able to find the terrorist plots that have occasionally started online. This is why we need to just accept the fact that we are being watched in this new society.
Clay Shirky has made many discussions about the Internet and how it ties into society. Clay did a TED talk that I found very interesting and related to Internet and how the government can use it for surveillance.
Clay touched on social media in his TED talk as well but there was another video that discusses the discussions that have been made within the United Nations about having global Internet surveillance in order to create a safer place for the world citizens. Clay does not discuss any of the surveillance topics until the video is almost done but he still touches on it. I believe this video is a good look at what social media and media history is in today’s world. Without this background information, it would be hard to understand what people are even up in arms about in regards to their Internet privacy.
Many people are up in arms about this because they think it is taking away from their right to privacy. These citizens need to know that the tracking of our Internet activity allow for a safer place. This video also discussed the problems of the distribution of copyrighted material. This is where most of the people got angered about having total Internet surveillance. They want to have the opportunity to share their music or videos that they have downloaded with their friends and they do not see the problem with this. The government, as an institution needs to be able to protect the business that keep local governments going. One of these viable business is the multimedia industry that some people believe is suffering from sharing copyrighted material.
In all honesty, I do not believe being watch online is that big of a deal. I have nothing to hide. If the government wants to read my emails from my professors and my boss, then go ahead. I also believe that the government will not be watching your Internet usage if you are not doing anything suspicious. This is something I have reiterated many times, but I believe it needs to be said. The governments of the world only have access to small amount of your information and what they do have they only examine if you are going a “person of interest”.
Whether you are for or against the government using Internet surveillance on their citizens, it is important to be educated about the topics.
-Johnny Walters Jr.
Clay Shirky: How social media can make history. 2009. Video. TED Web. 29 Apr 2013. <http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_cellphones_twitter_facebook_can_make_history.html>.
“UN Seeking Global Internet Surveillance For Terror, Propaganda.” New American (08856540) 28.22 (2012): 7. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.
N.d. Photograph. n.p. Web. 27 Apr 2013. <http://www.trunews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/r-ONLINE-SURVEILLANCE-CSIS-.jpg>.