Following the events of 9/11, travel as we knew it took a drastic turn, towards the worse. Should we, as citizens, be concerned who is reading our private conversations? Privacy is no longer seen as a top priority in the heads of government officials, but what does this mean? Since 9/11, there have been major changes in the way we travel, resulting in higher measures of security, an increase in government intelligence, and more extreme disagreements regarding the rights that are mandated to the people, by the constitution.
The events of 9/11 were ruled out to be acts of terrorism, which are played out by subjects of the middle east. The biggest question could have been: how could this have been prevented in the United States? At a Munk debate in Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, Edward Snowden - a former U.S intelligence contractee - made an appearance via Video Link. In terms of surveillance, Snowden says, “It’s no longer based on the traditional practice of targeted taps based on some individual suspicion of wrongdoing…it covers phone calls, emails, texts, search history, what you buy, who your friends are, where you go, who you love” (Snowden 1). It was revealed by Snowden that the U.S has precautions in place to spy on hundreds of millions of people, whether it be via social media, phone calls, emails, search histories and so much more, but just to name a few. This is just one of many questions asked in regards to the privacies and freedoms allowed by the government.
With the government taking in mass amounts of intelligence scattered from all around the world, what does that mean for our stance with other countries? In an article titled, “Why the NSA undermines national security,” Eileen Donahoe writes, “In the pursuit of information, the spy agency has invaded the privacy of foreign citizens and political leaders, undermining their sense of freedom and security. NSA Methods also undercut U.S credibility as a champion of universal rights” (Donahoe 2). After reading this, one could infer that other political leaders may feel attacked. In essence, resulting in loose ties with their governments. German Chancellor, Angel Merkel - President Obama considers one of his most trusted international partners - says, “Just because we can do something does not mean we should do it” (Merkel 2). If the government displays an act of without having trusted and trusting partners, U.S priority in global negotiations - such as the United Nations and NATO - will be non-starters. This influences the chance that the U.S could be seen as a global threat when it comes to confidentiality.
In recent arguments, the constitution has been brought into play. The fourth amendment of the United States constitution protects citizens from unlawful searches and sieges of information that are not mandated by a judge, of whom must see probable cause. This includes privacies such as phone records and other medias that are allowed access to by Third parties. In an article titled, “Freedom Vs. Security: A False Choice,” Ron Paul - A Texan politician from the Libertarian party - writes, “Similarly, your internet use can be monitored without your knowledge, and your internet provider can be forced to hand over user information to law enforcement without a warrant or subpoena” (Paul 1). This is clearly an offense of the constitution, which tackles basic human rights. Could this be an issue that will need further resolution by the judges of the Supreme Court?
Now we head into the tax aspect of the situation. In an article previously mentioned, Ron Paul states, “The message is clear: grave danger surrounds us, but ordinary citizens should do nothing and trust the government take care of it” (Paul 1) he then continues to say, “But the obvious lesson of September 11th is that the government cannot protect us, even with trillions of tax dollars spent on ‘defense’ hijacked plans new unchallenged over our skies and attracted national symbols of business and government” (Paul 1). How can we, as citizens, be promised safety? We can’t.
In an article titled, “How 9/11 Changed The Way We Travel,” Mark Johanson writes, “While so much has changed in America since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, arguably the greatest alteration to our way of life came in the way we travel.” (Johanson 1). The way we travel has changed immensely throughout history. After 9/11, the death of over 3,000 people has resulted in the lack of privacy in airports. Prior to the events that occurred on that horrific September day, security in airports was withheld by private third party companies. Since then, the TSA - the Transportation Security Administration - now searches millions of travelers every day. In the government's attempt to more properly regulate travel, the price of traveling has gone up - exponentially.
To conclude, we as citizens, are promised to be protected by the government. You could say that even though the government has taken more initiatives to keep our country safe, they’ve done so by invading the privacy of millions, undermining the rights guaranteed by the constitution. Will we ever live under safety provided by the government? That is yet to be determined.