Westin R. Colorado

NSA surveillance

As it stands now, the NSA has too much power over the people. This needs to stop.

Dear future President,

Our court system was founded on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”, and even our constitution (Amendment 4), is supposed to help ensure “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”. Why then are our country's citizens being spied upon, whether or not they have done anything to warrant it?

A computer or phone belonging to a citizen is one of their effects, and should be protected against unwarranted searches and seizures under the constitution's 4th amendment, however, all citizens’ computers are being searched indiscriminately, whether or not its owner has suspected involvement or motive for a crime, which would make a search of their effects reasonable.

Even when a warrant is made for the search of a citizen's home or safe, the police can break into the safe, but they cannot make the owner give up the combination - of which the modern equivalent is breaking into a computer, but not being able to force the owner to give up the password. However, the NSA has the passwords, or, at least, the means to access nearly every computer in America through backdoors - which criminals can use as well. The “safe” equivalent would be that the police have the combinations to every safe in America, and thieves could steal the combinations just as easily as the safe, making the “safe” obsolete, and with it the ability to protect your property from criminals and the government alike, property and information that could include credit card information, the owner's social security number, and other personally sensitive information.

When the NSA uses “backdoors” to gain access and collect information being sent & received by computer systems, most often by creating or exploiting a security flaw in said computer system - it is much like a real backdoor in that there may be a nearly impenetrable fortress, but if there is a back door to the fortress that doesn't even have a lock on it, the fortress’ defenses may as well not exist. These vulnerabilities aren’t public, but are discoverable to anyone with the skill, regardless of intent.

Backdoors in America's computer systems also harm the economy; few countries will want to buy American electronics knowing that they are vulnerable, or could be used to help collect information for the NSA, especially when it is illegal for even their government to spy on their own citizens.

The NSA has too much power over America’s computer systems, which ironically harms our security, and harms our economy; it does more harm than good to spy on everyone, limiting the NSA's power to suspected individuals would limit their power enough to not unintentionally harm the country, but still allow them to do their job and protect us against criminals - not the whole country.

Wheat Ridge HS

Composition for the College Bound English

Twelfth graders in Colorado

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