The American people are reaping what they sow. They were so eager to have any semblance of security after 9/11, that they allowed the Patriot Act to be rammed through Congress and signed into law all in a matter of days despite warnings from critics that it could be used to infringe upon citizens’ rights. NSA Surveillance Program has been in the news over the past week. It was revealed Wednesday June 5, 2013 in The Guardian that the NSA had requested the phone records of millions of Version’s customers regardless of whether they were suspected of suspicious activity or not.
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In addition it seems that other carriers are requesting similar information. Introduction: This week millions of Americans was informed by The Guardian of a top-secret government order that was approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, requiring that Verizon release and hand over millions of Americans’ phone records to the national Security Agency. Of course this information made many Americans uncomfortable and people started freaking out.
Then the Washington Post reported that not only has the government been keeping an eye on whom we call, when, and how long we talk to them, but it’s also been tapping into the servers of nine major U. S. Internet companies and collecting emails, photos, videos, documents, and other user activities. This information really caused many Americans to really stat freaking out. With all this freaking out is making it hard to decipher what, exactly is happening and what is the means of all this.
So now with what’s been stated so far let’s take a deep breath and break down what we know so far and elaborate some on the Patriot Act. Theories: The ethical dilemma raised is whether or not the government should spy on its citizens without their knowledge or permission even if their (the government’s) actions are completely legal. The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 is an Act of the U. S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001.
The title of the act is
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a ten letter acronym (USA PATRIOT) that stands for Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. In the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001, legislation entitled Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (known by its acronym, the USA PATRIOT Act) was passed by Congress. Nearly as soon as the PATRIOT ACT was passed, people expressed concern over some of its provisions.
The Patriot Act, was a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks of September 11th, significantly weakened restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ gathering of intelligence within the United States; expanded the Secretary of Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts.
The Patriot Act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA Patriot Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied. President Barrack Obama signed the Patriot Sunsets Extension Act on May 26, 2011. Which was a four-year extension of three key provisions in the USA Patriot Act roving wiretaps, searches of business records(the “library record provision”), and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves” individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not liked to terrorist groups.
With a major concern and ethical issue being raised on whether government should have the right to spy on citizens or have been raises major questions such as. Since when has the government been collecting phone records? It’s been reported that on April 25th, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved a top-secret order requested by the National Security Agency. According to utilitarianism, our obligation or duty in any situation is to perform the action that will result in the greatest possible balance of good over evil (Boatright, 2007, p. 32).
The order was it required Verizon, which is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the country, to hand over records of all its customers’ phone calls, both within the U. S. and to other countries and regardless of whether they’re suspected of wrongdoing, on an “ongoing, daily basis” until July 19th. Our government actions relates to Teleological Theory. Teleological theories hold that the rightness of actions is determined solely by the amount of good consequences they produce. The word “teleological” is derived from the Greek word “telos,” which refers to an end.
Actions are justified on teleological theories by virtue of the end they achieve, rather than some feature of the actions themselves (Boatright, 2007, p. 32). Research: With ethical concerns at a high from Verizon users, many people want clarification on has someone been listing in on their conversation? NSA Surveillance explained in the press release that no calls have been tapped in on. The order demanded the phone numbers and location data for both parties on a given call, its duration, and the time the call was made, but the content of the conversation is not included.
Now this raises concern from other people, What if I don’t have Verizon am I fine? Press released not necessarily. At this current time Verizon is the only company that explicitly been implicated so far, but according to a Wall Street Journal report, “people familiar with NSA’s operations said the initiative also encompasses phone call data from AT&T and Sprint Nextel. ” Deontological theories, in contrast to teleological theories such as utilitarianism, deny that consequences are relevant to determining what we ought to do.
Deontologists typically hold that we have a duty to perform certain acts not because of some benefit to ourselves or others but because of the nature of these actions or the rules from which they follow. (The word “deontological” derives from “deon,” the Greek word for duty. ) Thus, lying is wrong, some say, by its very nature, regardless of the consequences (Boatright, 2007, p. 32). In contrast with Boatright Deontological theories many Verizon users want answers to many questions. Another question that raises issues and concerns form the end users. What about my Internet history? So that’s the other thing.
According to The Washington Post report, the NSA and FCI also have been obtaining photographs, emails, documents, videos, and connection logs directly from the servers of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. This program, also top secret, is code-named PRISM and technically meant for spying on foreign targets. But that doesn’t mean Americans using these U. S. -based Internet servers aren’t exempt from the snooping. According to The Washington Post, the search terms, or “selectors,” used to determine “foreignness” is only 51 percent accurate, so content from the U. S. also may be collected.
Other examples of nonconsequentialist reasoning in ethics include arguments based on principles such as the Golden Rule and those that appeal to basic notions of human dignity and respect for other persons (Boatright, 2007, p. 32). It’s clear that with the recent actions that have been performed by NSA they don’t have respect for others and human dignity doesn’t exist. Dignity is a term used in moral, ethical, and political discussions to signify that a being has an innate right to respect and ethical. In the PRISM program US citizens want to know did all the tech companies willingly participate in with this program.
It’s not totally clear. Initially The Washington Post reported that the nine companies mentioned did “participate knowingly,” but after they all publicly denied having any involvement, the Post has removed that phrase from the article and added a new paragraph suggesting that the companies themselves may not have provided the NSA with direct access to data. Why is our government doing this? To protect is it says. In a press conference, President Obama defended the phone collecting, and National Intelligence Director James Clapper on Thursday condemned the leak of the classified order, insisting that it was done out of necessity to preserve national security.
House of Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers also said domestic terror arrack was thwarted as a result of the program, though he didn’t offer any details. What does our President have to say about the NSA actions? At a press conference Friday, our President Barrack Obama defended the order, saying it caused “modest encroachments on privacy” and of the collection of records: “My assessment was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks. ” He also stressed that no Internet data was collected from U. S. citizens or people living in the United States.
Earlier, the administration released talking points clarifying that the NSA order does not allow the government to listen in on phone calls, that this method of collecting intelligence is completely legal under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and that it has been “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States. ” Finding\results: Ethical theory is also necessary when reasonable people disagree about controversial issues in business. Everyone recognizes the right of privacy, but how far does this right extend.
Many law abiding citizens would agree that nothing about the actions form NSA and our president were ethical. Verizon just so happen to be my carrier for my cell phone for work and personal phone. I would have to agree that I could see the actions of NSA being controversial issues for business; especially big cooperation’s where a lot of priority information is at risk. Controversial issues in business ethics are difficult precisely because they are not easily settled by our ordinary moral beliefs and the simple rules and principles of morality.
When reasonable persons disagree about these matters, we need to go beyond our conflicting positions and seek common ground in ethical theory (Boatright, 2007, p. 24). A concern that comes to mine with the actions of NSA is Covert Surveillance. Some methods for obtaining information intrude in ways that companies have not anticipated and taken steps to prevent. These can be said to violate a company’s right to privacy.
Employees who talk about confidential matters in a public place, for example, can have no expectation of privacy, but planting hidden microphones in a competitor’s place of business is a form of espionage that intrudes into an area that is regarded as private. Virtually all of the high tech gadgetry that government intelligence agencies use to spy on enemies abroad is available for competitor intelligence gathering at home. Whether corporations have a right to privacy is controversial, but if covert surveillance were to become an accepted practice, companies would be forced to take costly defensive measures.
Respecting a company’s reasonable expectations of privacy, then, is in everyone’s best interests (Boatright, 2007, p. 128-129). It is clear that when NSA performed their actions they didn’t take any of this inconsideration for privacy of individuals or cooperation’s. The same surveillance techniques that are used to monitor employees are now used to detect theft by store customers. Video cameras are commonplace in retail stores, and some retailers have installed hidden microphones as well. The main threat to consumer privacy comes from the explosive growth of database marketing.
How ironic is this something that was designed for human good, NSA has some of the same technology to invade human privacy. For a thief surveillance is understandable, but for someone who is a law abiding citizen this is unjust for anyone to have access of your personal life at any given moment or unannounced time. Descriptive ethics may involve an empirical inquiry into the actual rules or standards of a particular group, or it could also consist of understanding the ethical reasoning process.
The Principle of Utility-Jeremy Bentham’s version of utilitarianism is set forth in the following passage from Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation: By the principle of utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever, according to the tendency which it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question: or, what is the same thing in other words, to promote or to oppose that happiness (Boatright, 2007, p. 32-33).
Jeremy principle of utility has to be the best solution for future actions going forward from NSA. Clearly millions of Americans are unhappy at this moment from the actions that has been taken over the past few weeks, if given the popular vote or people as a society were given the opportunity to have their voices heard and decision was decided on human rights this would not have taken place. So stated, the principle requires that consequences be measured in some way so that the pleasure and pain of different individuals can be added together and the results of different courses of action compared.
Bentham assumed that a precise quantitative measurement of pleasure and pain was possible, and he outlined a procedure that he called the hedonistic calculus (“hedonistic” is derived from the Greek word for pleasure). The procedure is to begin with any one individual whose interest is affected (Boatright, 2007, p. 32-33). Often times some actions are performed for someone pleasure that inflicts pains on others. Life is all about the Golden Rule do unto others as you would have them to do unto you.
The actions that were performed by NSA have already started some whistleblowing actions just days after the press conferences and more Americans awareness has been raised. Now the issue of privacy within the U. S. will be viewed differently from citizens, if our government is allowing our privacy to be invaded at any given point in time, this will always be viewed as unethical action. Conclusion: Considering the criticism of the vast surveillance programs that are implemented in the U.S. and foreign countries, it’s not surprising that our government system would allow NSA to infiltrate our personal lives.
Considering the recent action from NSA they infiltrated our personal data and privacy through our number one means of communication. Knowing that our government can access our privacy at any given time this has really caused discomfort with many millions of Americans. Does ethics and morals still exist in our society today is yet to be determined.See More on Ethics