Point: The National Security Agency should end its surveillance of U.S. citizens

The NSA, or the National Security Agency, is a branch of the United States government, which has actually done more harm than good in the recent years.  After 9/11, under the Patriot Act, they were given permission to access Americans’ emails, phone records, search history, and even turn on webcams on devices using legally dubious warrants that don’t meet the normal threshold.  The NSA has claimed to stop terror attacks throughout the country, but how true are these claims?  Is the NSA worth the economic impact, and are we, as a country, comfortable with allowing a racist program surveilling every move we make?

The NSA has proven that the safety of all American people is not its priority, as it continues to abuse its rights to surveil specific races more than others, such as African Americans.  Over the summer, the world faced the devastating death of George Floyd.  Following his death, protests took place all over the country.  When the NSA caught Twitter posts that protesters would be marching to the Capitol, the NSA took this as a major threat.  As a result, the National Guard was deployed in riot gear, along with tear gas and rubber bullets.  

Now, compare that to the most recent attack on Capitol Hill, when armed white supremicists announced online they were going to the Capitol to overturn an election, which the NSA did not take that as a threat.  If the NSA was not able to detect a far-right insurrection, but can fight peaceful social justice protests, then clearly the NSA isn’t doing its job completely or fairly.  If our privacy is being violated, the least the NSA could do is ensure our safety and handle our data equally.

It is not okay that people are being treated differently when the Black Lives Matter protest was going on.  The NSA took this as a major threat and supported the deployment of soldiers and the use of tear gas against people of color and their allies.  Yet, when white protesters tweeted about storming the capital, not one of these substances were used this is extremely upsetting to see how differently the NSA treats people of color when assessing two different situations,” said freshman Michael Scott.

In addition to our safety not being the NSA’s top priority, the agency has also created a massive economic downfall.  Due to the NSA, American companies have reported declining sales overseas and a major loss of business opportunities.  Foreign companies fear creating a tie with any American affiliated company because it gives the NSA the right and motive to surveil their business.  Forrester Research, which is a technology research firm, claimed that losses due to the NSA surveillance on US citizens could have cost as much as 180 billion dollars.  This much money directly affects the lives of millions of Americans, and could result in skyrocketing poverty rates.

“I feel that the American economy should not be negatively affected due to the NSA surveillance.  The fact that businesses are losing money from the surveillance is terrible and capable of an economic depression,” says freshman Jai Dillion.

In addition to money being stripped from the economy, with the massive surge of cyber attacks, the NSA is allowing our private information to be stripped as well.  The NSA claims to constrain cyber attacks, yet as of 2018, cyber attacks have been steadily increasing by 4%.  Not only does this show that the NSA has not been able to do its job, but it also shows that our information is prone to being stolen by foreign parties.  One cyberweapon, Eternal Blue, was stolen from the NSA in a cyber attack, and is now used against American businesses and government.  This irony, our cyber experts being hacked and having negative ramifications for the American people, highlights the problems with the NSA. 

“It’s concerning, the fact that the U.S government has left its citizens exposed to threats isn’t something that I would like to support.  It does not sit with me well that due to surveillance, US citizens are put at a higher risk than they were before,” said freshman Max Baum.

Since the NSA’s adoption of surveillance of US citizens, it has pursued blatantly racist policies that have yet to benefit any American citizens.  In addition, instead of keeping American citizens safe, the NSA did the exact opposite.  NSA surveillance puts citizens at risk every single day due to the programs that are now in terrorist hands.  Furthermore, it has allowed hackers to see inside our computer webcams, get our credit card information, and more.  Due to the NSA, our privacy and information is at risk, and for these reasons we should get rid of the organization’s rights to use surveillance on all American citizens.