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De La Torre 1 Alejandra De La Torre John Kubler English 114A 24 September 2013 Are You Hiding Anything?

September 11 is a day that will never be forgotten in our nation. On this day many Americans were killed because terrorists were able to hijack airplanes and drive them into the Twin Towers. Had even a simple data-mining program been in place before September 11, a majority of the hijackers could have been identified (MacDonald). To prevent another attack on our nation like 9/11, our government had to take action and pass many laws and acts that would be necessary for our safety even if it meant the government spying on us. This has been going on since right after 9/11 so about eleven years and recently many have become informed about this and believe it is not right to spy on everyone. I believe the need for increased security is more important than the right of an individuals privacy. Senior politicians revealed that as an effort for the US counter-terrorism, the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting personal data from innocent citizens phone calls and messages. This might sound like new information, but apparently it has been going on for years. According to the Guardian, there is a secret court order [authorizing] the FBI to seize all call records from a subsidiary of Verizon (Roberts). In a way I believe that is a form of violating privacy, but at the same time I think national homeland security does need to take all kinds of precautions. This can really save us from the next terrorist attack. The Verizon court order has been in place for seven years. The order is related to the metadata which is the call details like location, number, and length. When cross-checked with other public records, the metadata can reveal someone's name, address, driver's licence, credit history, social security number and more.

De La Torre 2 NSA also obtains access to data from Internet service providers on Internet use such as data about email or website visits. It is even said that NSA has established similar relationships with creditcard companies (MuKasey). After the fatal attack on September 11, the Verizon order was made under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and was amended by the Patriot Act of 2001. The only reason for the surveillance of so many innocent people is because the homeland security cant trust anyone. It is understandable that the US wants to keep their citizens safe. I believe it is our governments duty to protect us from outside harm. Now that this news is coming into the light and many people are finding out, they are getting angry at the idea because it is an invasion of privacy. Intelligence committee member Mark Udall believes this is government snooping and that it should concern all of us. Former vicepresident Al Gore refers to this situation as the secret blanket surveillance and is outraged to hear about it. I do understand that Americans would feel hurt at the fact that their country would see them as criminals and investigate them. The NSA is only taking precautions for everyones safety. Taking precautions is always better than being unprepared. Some may argue that it is against the constitution that our government is spying on us; however our Constitution states The right of our people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizuresand no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause (Mukasey). If someone is a suspect of being a terrorist, then it is not an unreasonable act to keep an eye on them. Unless you really are hiding something then you shouldnt really care. Programs that the government has set up since 9/11 such as the NSA are for the countrys protection. These programs are beneficial to everyone in our nation because there have been several attacks that were prevented. None of which scaled to be like the attacks on 9/11. Najibullah Zazi was a terrorist that was planning to kill New York City subway riders (Mukasey). However, through monitoring him and collecting data, the government was able to stop him

De La Torre 3 before it was too late. It is a shame that these programs didnt take plave until after the 9/11 attack. Two of the 9/11 hijackers were already on a State Department watch list. When Khalid Almidhar and Nawaq Alhazmi bought their tickets on American Airlines Flight 77 in August, a search for people sharing addresses and frequent flier numbers with these al Qaeda operatives, as well as of their telephone contacts, would have uncovered over half the plotters (Total Misrepresentation). In Persepolis, the main character Marji grew up during the Islamic Revolution. When 1980 came it became obligatory for women to wear veils whenever in public. Then after the veil was worn, women were forced to cover up in public. The women were covered from head to toe to prevent getting raped from looking tempting to a man. Marjis mother believed these obligations were ridiculous, so she didnt follow them. Her choice had consequences. After going in public without being completely covered, she got insulted and almost raped by two fundamentalist bastards. The men believed women like her should be pushed up against a wall and fucked, and then thrown in the garbage. No matter what the rules are, the citizens should follow them when it is for their own safety. An example from Persepolis that the government increased its security over the privacy of their citizens is when Marjis uncle Anoosh was arrested. He came from Russia to Iran to visit his family and because he believed his wife was too heartless; He believed that of all Russians. Once the government of Iran noticed him, they found out he was from Russia and accused of being a spy. Therefore, Anoosh was executed. The government didnt know if Anoosh was bad for Iran. All they knew was that he was from Russia and a possible spy. So for the safety of their government he was killed. The government is trying to protect their people by getting rid of outside people or bad examples. Many would say that not being able to wear or do what you want is not fair. Being watched and asked what you do during the day is in a way a violation of your privacy. Marji was

De La Torre 4 told to say she prays many times a day, the the government would not think her family is against the revolution. During the Islamic Revolution anything is possible. If you didnt follow the rules you couldve been killed. If dressing a certain way and acting like you are on their side, keeps you safe then so be it. A persons safety is worth more than some privacy. Isnt safety and peace of mind worth some aggressive action from the government? Our governments job is to protect its citizens and if that means watching phone calls and collecting data then so be it. Zazi was just one of many terrorist attacks that were stopped. Peace of mind to me is priceless and I believe that anything is worth it rather than being paranoid all the time. We the people live by the rules of the government. The least the government could do is protect us from terrorists. Yes, the NSA does listen to our calls, but people will not complain about that when there is an attack. They are going to be asking why did it happen again and why didnt the government stop it? Safety is a main concern and for the NSA to take these drastic measures I believe is necessary for the safety of the people. Therefore, the need for increased security is more important than the right of an individuals privacy because having your privacy wont help the NSA capture the terrorists that are just waiting to attack our nation. Like I said people should not care about the government going through our calls and messages, unless you are hiding something because a citizen would know what is best for their country in regards to their own privacy.