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21st Century Privacy Essay

1728 words - 7 pages

Recent leaks regarding the National Security Agency’s monitoring of America’s communications, indeed, the communication of World leaders has brought the use of technology to the forefront in the mind of many people. This, then, begs the question, is privacy any longer possible in America? In this paper, I will argue by using scholarly and peer-reviewed resources that privacy is possible in the 21st century in America in online environments, because the technology exists through which privacy can be assured. I will present the reader with valid objections to this view, but will disprove them, using research that is current in the field of technology.
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This Agency also enables Network Warfare operations to defeat terrorists and their organizations at home and abroad, consistent with U.S. laws and the protection of privacy and civil liberties.” (Unknown, 2011)
In the wake of the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, the NSA has set up a series of listening posts and data collection centers, which have captured all matter of digital communication, whether it was via cell phone, landlines, satellite communications, telegraphs, emails or Internet chats. According to James Bamford, writing in Wired Magazine, they will even be tracking such innocent items as Google searches, parking receipts, airline itineraries, financial transactions, stock deals, business deals, and confidential communications. One of these data centers is located in the Utah desert, and was built at a cost of over $2 billion (2012). The purpose of this collection center is not to just intercept data; rather it is to hold data that is currently unreadable, for future exploitation. The problem lies, not so much in that the NSA is collecting data on Americans, and they claim that Americans are not their targets. The difficulty lies in the structure of the Internet.
The Internet is a worldwide series of computers, switches and routers that transmit data in small packets from one point to another. The routers mission is to talk with other routers, and efficiently route traffic to the next point in the communications link, and to ensure that the traffic reaches its final destination. The router is also supposed to make sure that traffic does not go where it is not needed. It can join other networks in order for this to happen. The problem with this system is that at some points, whether it is at an Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) location, or a waypoint that traffic is being routed through, the traffic is vulnerable to interception. This is one of the ways upon which we can be spied, our Internet interactions.
Another way to be spied upon is known as “Google Analytics.” According to the Google Analytics web site, “Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that helps website owners understand how visitors engage with their website. Google Analytics customers can view a variety of reports about how visitors interact with their website so that they can improve it. Google Analytics collects information anonymously. It reports website trends without identifying individual visitors” (Google.Co.Uk, 2013) They go on to spell out the data they collect, such as information you volunteer, such as through signing up for a Google service, device information, log information, location information, unique application numbers, information stored on your local devices, and cookies and anonymous identifiers (Google.Co.Uk, 2013). They use the information provided to, ostensibly, create a better online environment for the user, but in fact it is also used to target advertising. There is a reason that Google founders Larry Page...

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