The Right to Life

Michael Nishida, Sports Editor

   The National Security Agency (NSA) has been heavily ridiculed by the American public as trespassers of an inherent right guaranteed by the Constitution: privacy. The fact that the government had been spying on millions of Americans’ phone conversations right under our noses is actually not as surprising as people make it out to be, considering that after the attack on 911 any consecutive terrorist strike would be seen as an enormous failure of the government. They no longer had the excuse of the element of surprise. The Patriot Act, which enabled the NSA to probe metadata relating to communication, was created to prevent a second attack and so far has seen success considering the fact that there has been no foreign terrorist attack since its creation.

   Now, the main criticism people have the agency is the invasion of privacy. Ever since the seizure of colonists’ homes during the Revolutionary War privacy has been regarded as an imperative right listed in the Bill of Rights under the Fourth Amendment. What are the advantages of retaining this right? When people are being spied on by the government they may be more cautious about what they say or change how they act online, but I don’t see anything that justifies shrinking our national defense.

   Assel Ali (12) commented, “If they did the job correctly and stopped the racial profiling I think the NSA would be justified.”

   Like Ali I believe that the argument for privacy is outweighed by the security of the nation. The Social Contract states that the citizens must sacrifice some rights for the sake of protection. The people need to give up part of their privacy to ensure that a terrorist attack will never affect the United States again. When comparing the magnitude of each consequence potential American deaths at the hand of terrorists completely outweighs the government observing people’s text messages. On top of this, the NSA only probes text messages that match keywords relating to terrorism or large-scale attacks.

   The NSA has some flaws, like its excessive racial profiling against Middle Easterns as Ali said, but I think the government has an obligation to protect the people.