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Surveillance & Society. 1st Current Event Analyses

Ivan Vivar
Professor Fluery-Steiner
12 September 2013

Current Event Analyses

            The United States and parts of the international community are still reeling from the shocking revelation regarding the NSA surveillance program.  Since Edward Snowden revealed the extensive recording of civilian personal information and communications the Obama administration has come under heavy scrutiny.  Perhaps more intriguing is the remaining information that Snowden has yet to release.  The remaining information could reveal more severe privacy violations against innocent targets.

Recently in Brazil, Globo, their largest television network aired leaked NSA documents.  In those documents it was exposed that the U.S. has tapped into computer networks of companies like Google.  More controversial is the news that they also tapped into the Brazilian company Petroleo Brasiliero SA.  The NSA allegedly also went as far as to record communications of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and then Presidential candidate of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto.  The allegations lead to a very tense meeting between state leaders Obama and Rousseff at last week’s G20 meeting in Russia.  According to James Clapper, USA director of National Intelligence, the U.S. does collect financial information “ agencies do collect information about economic and financial matters and that it is used to combat terrorist financing and predict problems that could lead to financial crises or disrupt financial markets” (Prada).   He made it clear that the information collection was not meant for profit purposes.

In Greenwald’s the “Digital Surveillance State” an excellent point is raised on the volume of data the NSA receives.  He quotes a story in the Post “The NSA sorts a fraction of those [1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of daily collected communications] into 70 separate databases. The same problem bedevils every other intelligence agency, none of which have enough analysts and translators for all this work” (Greenwald, 4).  Thus countless of confidential and private information is secretly being robbed from innocent harmless people.  This vast and broad search leaves much raw information insufficiently inspected.  Such oversight can actually leave threats unnoticed as was the case in the tragic school shootings in Virginia Tech.  The shooter Cho had a long recorded history of medical instability and drug abuse.  Such information should raise red flag and supervision.  It went unnoticed even with programs like the “Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs”.  The program was authorized “to monitor and record all prescription drug use by all citizens” (Greenwald, 2).

Despite the inability to recognize all crucial information the government continues to expand its data gathering further, like breaching foreign nation’s sovereignty.  Brazil is a nation with uncapped potential commercially and politically.  NSA is alienating a state that can be a tremendous asset to the United States through its energy production value.  Such alienation diminishes any potential in creating a favored reputation with the entire Latin American region.  “The report did not say when the alleged spying took place, what data might have been gathered or what exactly the agency may have been seeking” (Prada).  Still it is difficult to believe that any true threat comes from Petroleo Brasiliero’s financial dealings.  Thus it is not hard to find the NSA efforts in Brazil vain, misguided, and unlawful.

Bibliography

Greenwald, Glen. “The Digital Surveillance State: Vast, Secret and Dangeous”. 9 August 2010

Prada, Paulo; Levine Asher. “U.S. tapped into networks”. Reuters. Web. 9 September, 2013

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