Are We Any Safer Because the NSA Exceeded its Authority to Intercept eMails?

30 April 2009 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

A report that the National Security Agency (NSA) exceeded its authority by intercepting emails and phone calls of Americans make some people feel safer, and others wary. Many speculate that these massive email and phone call interceptions are systematic and intentional. For instance the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have been following NSA’s activities for some time and are alarmed at NSA’s actions.

US Patriot Act

In the wake of September 11 terrorist attacks on October 26, 2001 President Bush signed the US Patriot Act after passing both houses of Congress in less than one day. The US Patriot Act gave the federal government unparalleled power to search emails and private communications without many checks and balances in the name of protection from terrorists. The US Patriot Act was renewed in 2005 substantially without major change. Congress and US citizens want certain protections, but EPIC and EFF are concerned that the US Patriot Act is too broad.

Increased in Criminal Data Breaches

Reports that there have been a significant increase in data breaches by organized crime is hardly surprise, but it seems that NSA’s efforts in searching emails and phone calls have not really paid off to make our Internet a safer place in which to conduct business. Last year there were more than 100 confirmed data breaches involving roughly 285 million consumer records, most of which occurred from sites overseas. There needs to be a balance between safety from bad guys and protection of civil liberties.

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