Should The Government Surveil The Citizens Electronically? - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1203 Words
Date:  2022-06-26


The country is not as safe as it appears, many individuals within and outside the boundaries of the nation plot on how to cause terror and to commit offenses. Nonetheless, privacy is a major concern among millennials. Many personalities refuse the electronic surveillance of the government on the people without their permission. Notably, they mistakenly interpret their privacy as freedom (Marthews and Tucker 24). As such, they argue that when the government surveils them, it interferes with their freedom, which is a right guaranteed by the constitution. Even so, individuals refuting electronic surveillance overlook the purpose of government scrutiny. The government is not interested in knowing individuals' favorite playlist, or if they are cheating on their spouse, government surveillance aims to protect the citizens from external and internal threats. By monitoring the citizens, authorities can identify threats and suspicious activities (Marthews and Tucker 15). In light of the rampant terrorist activity around the globe and the position of the country as a superpower, the government should surveil the citizens electronically to prevent acts of terror since it is a likely target for terrorist activities.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The biggest con of electronic surveillance is the invasion of privacy (Setty 53). The government controls all messages, privacy, and personal information as it can access even the most confidential data with legal authorization from the court. Nevertheless, authorities in their pursuit of terrorists and offenders bypass the legality of acquiring other people's information. The government compels the people to share their crucial details, thereby violating their anonymity. The result is that the government has too much influence over the livelihoods of citizens, which is risky as it can control the behavior of the people. Similarly, the government in its mission to guarantee the security of the country, acquires too much control, thereby affecting the citizens, and that is where the problem arises. Many people do not have a problem with the government doing its job by ensuring the security of the nation; the problem comes in when the authorities interfere with the personal lives of citizens as they have a right to enjoy their existences provided they acknowledge and observe the law (Setty 68). Since revelations by Edward Snowden of the government's secret surveillance programs, many people express concerns about their privacy. Despite the electronic surveillance program by the government safeguarding the people from terrorist activity, it violates the Fourth Amendment as it prohibits all searches on individuals, including communication, unless with the presence of a warrant from the court. Consequently, the CIA, FBI, and NSA are violating the rights of the people through mass surveillance.

Supporters of electronic surveillance put it plainly that the critics have to choose between their freedom and security; and in doing so, they should comprehend what is more important among the latter and the former. Mainly, one's security is more important than freedom as one cannot enjoy freedom in an insecure country (Tiainen 403). Subsequently, the critics should focus on the purpose of the government in conducting electronic surveillance. The government's interest is not in the personal information but rather any inconsistencies or alarms in the information that may suggest a security threat to the nation. By adopting the latter rationale, there is no justification to require the authorities to obtain warrants amidst crucial investigations that influence national security. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches. The term 'unreasonable' is a broad terminology; as such, the detail that the government conducts electronic surveillance to ensure national security is enough to declare such by the authorities reasonable. Going by the latter, law-abiding citizens should back the initiative by the authorities to surveil the country electronically as they have nothing to hide. Ideally, video surveillance is not illegal, capturing people's movement on tape is not against the law as it does not breach the requirement by the Fourth Amendment to prevent unreasonable search or seizure, considering that the motive of recording is to discourage criminal activities. The same applies to electronic surveillance as it is not ill-intentioned. Successively, it is appropriate for the government to utilize its power to gather helpful data to guarantee the safety of the nation (Tiainen 417). Even if electronic surveillance violates some sections of the edict, the people should sacrifice a few civil rights for their security. Any logical person would choose safety over privacy as it guarantees a peaceful environment enabling him/her to thrive. Arguments against electronic surveillance are mistaken as there is no better freedom than the ability to exist peacefully. Electronic surveillance is not a subject to bother law abiding citizens as they have nothing to hide since the government's motive is to identify threats to national security.

The argument by the critics about the electronic surveillance is applicable but overlooks the important aspects of achieving peace and stability in the country (Levinson-Waldman 527). According to critics of electronic surveillance, the latter impedes their freedom. The rationale upholds the importance of one's privacy as part of an individual's wellbeing. Nonetheless, security is a better guarantee of the welfare of the people as opposed to freedom. Even so, it is appropriate to state that electronic surveillance is illegal and a violation of a few liberties (Levinson-Waldman 527). Nevertheless, surveillance is a necessary violation of the rule as it yields better results by ensuring the safety of a country. Subsequently, the defilement is universal; the government assesses all citizens to identify suspicious activity. The opinion of the critics is important as it helps the public to contemplate instances when the defilement could jeopardize the authority of the law. Sequentially, electronic surveillance is not the issue that people should focus on but rather how to secure government facilities to avoid manipulation by third parties targeting specific members of the public. Authorities should ensure that the data obtained during electronic surveillance is secure from other individuals or groups besides the relevant government agencies, CIA, NSA and FBI (Pozen 223). Equally, the government should ensure the integrity of the appropriate government organizations and personnel.


In conclusion, electronic surveillance may be illegal but is an acceptable violation as it is well-intended, evident in the results, which are security and peace in the country. As such, the focus should not be on electronic surveillance but rather the integrity of the government organizations conducting the surveillance, CIA, NSA, and the FBI. Since the government is not interested in the details regarding the lives of citizens but rather the risks among them, there is no need to emphasize on the act of surveilling the people but rather the safety of the information acquired during the process. As such, the government should have the authority to wiretap citizens without their permission provided the privilege is limited to the relevant authorities and accountable individuals.

Works Cited

Levinson-Waldman, Rachel. "Hiding in Plain Sight: A Fourth Amendment Framework for Analyzing Government Surveillance in Public." Emory LJ 66 (2016): 522-527.

Marthews, Alex, and Catherine E. Tucker. "Government surveillance and internet search behavior." MIT Sloan School of Management (2017): 1-39.

Pozen, David E. "Privacy-Privacy Tradeoffs." The University of Chicago Law Review (2016): 221-247.

Setty, Sudha. "Surveillance, secrecy, and the search for meaningful accountability." Stan. J. Int'l L (2015): 51-69.

Tiainen, Minna. "(De) legitimating electronic surveillance: a critical discourse analysis of the Finnish news coverage of the Edward Snowden revelations." Critical Discourse Studies 14.4 (2017): 402-419.

Cite this page

Should The Government Surveil The Citizens Electronically? - Essay Sample. (2022, Jun 26). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism