Surveillance in the United States has been able to greatly advanced through the use of technology. We Americans are constantly being watched through our phone, calls, text messages, social media accounts, emails and credit card usage. It’s scary to think that the government could get to know you personally without ever meeting you. Since the incident of 9/11, the United States has advanced their security through physical security, creating profiles, and social media.
The United States advanced their physical security after the attacks of 9/11;We see these advancements in our borders and in our airplane security. There are two comic strips that I would like to reference that both talk about the security in our airplane boarding systems (the link will be given at the end of the essay). In Gary Markstein’s cartoon, we see citizens laying naked on a conveyor belt waiting to go through the x-ray station in an airplane security system. Their clothes are on the floor and the security guard is saying, “‘Basically, we felt it was a natural progression’” (Markstein 1). This cartoon depicts stripping everyone/everything down to ensure complete security. We then look at Steve Sack’s cartoon and see a passenger explaining to a guard why he has 4 belts on. The passenger explains, “Oh, those are in case I need something to restrain a fellow passenger” (Sack 1). This cartoon depicts the fear passengers now have due to the events of 9/11. The security and metal detector caught all of the belts, which is good, but it is also eye opening that passengers feel unsafe and are now relying on their own defence. Somehow we should find a middle-ground between both cartoons; a way to ensure safety without going to crazy lengths.
As generations go on, technology is becoming more of a necessity. The current generation is very wrapped up in social media, making their lives more accessible to others. Social Media (depending on what you post) opens up your life to the internet, and like they say… once you post something, it’s out there forever! Even when you delete something, there is still a record of the post. Today, we allow our social media to define us. In Austin Carr’s article from the Fast Company Newsletter, he explains, “Today, employers are no longer just searching Google for information on applicants-- they’re commissioning companies to do professional social media background checks” (Carr 1). You can know a lot about someone by what they post; this is why employers turn to social media to investigate whoever is applying for a job. Carr also quotes CEO Max Drucker saying, “‘I think we’re moving toward where your online history is your resume’” (Carr 1). It’s scary to think we are moving past meeting someone face-to-face for getting to know someone, to looking into their social media and making assumptions. We are a generation who makes labels for people before we know them… is this really advancement?
Finally, my last point: the government today tiptoes the line of personal privacy and safety. They can tap into your emails, phone calls, text messages, and much more. Charmaine Noronna made the comment, “the U.S. government has programs in place to spy on hundreds of millions of people’s emails, social networking posts, online chat histories, browsing histories, phone records, phone calls and texts” (Noronna 1). They know your every move. Who you love, what you like to spend your money on, where you are, and who you are. Is that the price of having all of this technology? The government monitors everyone to ensure no attacks like 9/11 happen again; when you use this claim it makes tapping into someone’s personal life okay. Eileen Donahoe states, “‘If you don’t have anything to hide,’ goes the refrain, ‘you shouldn’t mind if the government collects information to prevent another terrorist attack’” (Donahoe 1). This claim may be true, and you may have nothing to hide, but it is suppressing to know you are always being watched. Citizens don’t feel good knowing that fact, they actually lose a sense of security.
Concluding, is the loss of the trust of citizens gaining or losing security? Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, we have lost the meaning of security. Citizens don’t feel secure knowing they are always being watched and recorded. This action ensures National security, but not the individual security our citizens desire to feel.