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The FBI Stalks Me

Agencies like the NSA and FBI have mass surveillance over millions of Americans.

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Sergey Nivens - Fotolia

Sergey Nivens - Fotolia

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Anonymous, Staff Writer

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It was my sophomore year of high school, I remember that bright fall afternoon like it was yesterday. I came home from school, and had finally gotten a chance to relax. Then there were two ominous figures knocking at my door. My mother answered the door, and much to my disbelief it was FBI agents, looking for me! Apparently I had used the word “bomb” in a few texts and I used the word “wedding” in a few texts as well, and this was suspicious enough for the FBI to investigate a 16 year old for links to terrorists. The agents told me that the word ”wedding” was a code word that terrorists used to mean an attack, however the agents chose not to notice that I was referring to an actual wedding I was to attend, which I was discussing with a friend in my texts.

At this point some of you may be wondering, how did the FBI get access to my text messages anyway? Well the FBI can tap into every action, communication, or task one can perform using a phone of the internet. When the FBI pulled up every single text message conversation I had with anyone, I was shocked. They can listen into my calls, they can access every email that I send, and they see every single google search I make. Why does the FBI do this? To prevent terrorism apparently.

After 9/11 the government had set up many new pieces of legislation that massively increased security, at huge expenses to privacy and personal freedom, however what do these laws have to show for in terms of preventing terrorism? There’s a great video on YouTube, from this German channel called Kurzgesagt, regarding how effective the government surveillance has been at preventing terrorism. The video starts out by explaining how after 9/11 the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” was created, so communications from people within terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda could be intercepted. Kurzgesagt explains however the FBI  use this law in a different manner that it was originally intended, the FBI used immigration records to track people of Arab, Middle Eastern, or of South Asian origin living within the United States. According to Kurzgesagt over 80,000 people were required to register with the FBI, 8,000 were brought in for questioning, and 5,000 were locked up in preventive detention, and among all these people NONE were found to be terrorists.

The video further explains the NSA taps into the data and personal information of millions of Americans. Many of you may remember in 2013 when Ed Snowden released classified government information regarding what kind of data is stored by the NSA and the true power of the NSA over companies like Microsoft and Google. The NSA keeps files on millions of American  emails, pictures, texts, google searches, etc. The Snowden documents provide the evidence for that claim. So basically the government is looking for criminals, but they keep adding in average people into their search for terrorists. In the words of Kurzgesagt, if normal people are the hay and terrorists are the needle in the haystack, “Adding more hay to the stack does not make the needle easier to find.”

Agencies like the NSA and FBI have not found any terrorists through their mass surveillance programs, however such programs are still supported by many. Many argue one shouldn’t have anything to hide if one is not a terrorist, but are you comfortable with knowing that someone might be reading your private texts with your friends, that they are storing pictures of you, that they are reading your embarrassing google searches? For many this might be a huge intrusion of privacy. Whatever one believes, the fact of the matter still remains, the fruits of the labors of mass government surveillance programs are minimal at best.

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The FBI Stalks Me