With the the current situation revolving around the National Security Agency (NSA), people are afraid that their privacy has been invaded for the sake of governmental information filing. The Fourth Amendment states that people have “The right…to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches…shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” This extends towards people’s lives on the Internet as well as anything that they upload or post, especially on public social websites.
The NSA, founded in 1952, is the USA’s signals intelligence agency, and the biggest of the country’s countless intelligence organizations. It has a strict focus on overseas, rather than domestic, surveillance. It is the phone and internet interception specialist of the USA, and is also responsible for code breaking.
The NSA, for the sake of tracking down foreign nationals for surveillance, according to the Guardian, not only records your chats, browsing history and other internet activity, but also monitors your phone numbers, email addresses, log-ins and user activity. They can also pinpoint your I.P. address all from a personal emails, as well as tell what device you used to make searches and what language the searches were conducted in One top-secret document described how XKeyscore, the program they use to track information, “searches within bodies of emails, webpages and documents,” including the “To, From, CC, BCC lines” and the ‘Contact Us’ pages on websites.” To add to this, not only don’t they need specific individual warrants, as stated in the Fourth Amendment, but they tend to do it in masses of people to lessen the work.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project reported that privacy concerns among Americans are on the rise, with 50 percent of Internet users saying they are worried about the information available about them online, up from 33 percent in 2009. Meanwhile, 86 percent of people surveyed have tried at least one technique to hide their activity online or avoid being tracked, such as clearing cookies or their browser history or using encryption.
The Project produces reports exploring the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the internet through surveys that examine how Americans use the internet and how their activities affect their lives.
PRISM is a top-secret, $20 million a year NSA surveillance program which allows them access to information on its targets from some the United States’ biggest technology companies, suchGoogle, Apple, Microsoft, Microsoft, Facebook, Aol, PalTalk, and Yahoo.
“Unfortunately, online anonymity is already dead,” said Ladar Levison, founder of e-mail service LavaBit that closed its doors in the wake of the NSA’s PRISM controversy. “It takes a lot more effort and skill than most have in order to keep your anonymity today.”