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RUNNING HEAD: No Online Surveillance

No Online Surveillance

ENG 102

Professor Kardell

April 1, 2019
RUNNING HEAD: No Online Surveillance

No Online Surveillance

This article is about the issue involving the online monitoring service that government agencies
and businesses given. Within their power, they can restrict rights given to internet users by the
US Constitution. It is also difficult to draw the line where laws can intervene or not. This
confusion allows government agencies to legally monitor, without a warrant, a suspected
offender’s online activity and it can branch out to the real world. This issue also allows
businesses to gather personal information and they can use it for anything they want. There are
no regulations that prevent them to do as they please. As result, identity scammers or other type
of deviant personnel have the same power as an official and trusted website. Making it more
likely for internet users to fall victim to their sly tactics. If there was regulations or human rights
integrated to the internet’s design, there wouldn’t be such a high demand to take security
measures to stay protected as one browses the web. As a result, internet users may feel
comfortable giving their credit card information to buy products or service and boosting the
online economy or even talking to a friend and not feeling worried that someone is recording the
There have always been issues with the internet ever since it was released in January 1,
1983. The main concern of this the paper is the monitoring systems that businesses and federal
agencies have. After the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, former President George W.
Bush created the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP) to counter and prevent any further
harm to society. It later gave birth to other federal surveillance programs after the end of
President Bush’s term like the FISA Amendments Act (Standing -- Challenges to Government
Surveillance -- Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, 2013). The monitoring systems that
online businesses have can track and collect data on the activity and personal information. This
allows them to find any issues within their website, so it can be improved for the user. The
personal information collection allows the user to have their credit card or other payment
methods to be saved so the users don’t have to input the payment method information every time
they purchase a product or service. Although, online monitoring systems can help improve
business or detect and prevent plans that will bring harm to society, the government should
implement laws to regulate the monitoring systems on the internet to decrease the power given to
businesses and federal agencies.
The federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) have the responsibility to protect its citizens, so they were given the
right to invade an internet user’s activity without a warrant if they found that the internet user
was planning to harm or commit treason to the United States (Carr, 2013). This method is like
what schools do with their online monitoring system. Someone keeps track of what the students
are doing on their computers. Administrators have the power to see what websites students have
visited while they are supposed to do assignments. This allows the schools administrators to
block academic disrupting or inappropriate website and even use it to punish those students if
caught on those websites. This also prevents those students from being cyberbullied because they
can’t visit social media websites (Suzuki, 2014). This is positive for children’s mental health and
giving parents less to worry about their child being harmed at school. Both the school’s
RUNNING HEAD: No Online Surveillance

administrators and online monitoring agencies have the motives to stop harm to their population.
One of the uses that the governmental online monitoring agencies has with their monitoring
system is to prevent possible child sex offenders from committing unlawful acts against
underaged internet users (Balfe, 2015). This is a good act for society and the future of young
generations. It has been found that unlawful acts such as rape can mentally scar children and
possibly alter their growth. There are records of young rape victims becoming rapists or physical
abusers when they became adults. To prevent this from occurring those governmental agencies
must monitor for suspicious activities online. For instance, going through websites where anyone
can chat with random people even with a webcam. Those websites allow possible sex offenders
to contact an underage person and possibly persuade them to do what they want like sending
pictures of them or sending their address. The online monitoring agencies will track and build a
case on this victim. Through laws like the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
of 1994 (CALEA) it can assist government agencies to track the location of the suspect without
having permission from the suspect and without a warrant (Freiwald and Smith, 2018). The
government agencies are attempting to do good, but this is negative for those that are wrongly
suspected. All their online activity is going to be monitored and things like their credit card
information can be collected for the use of evidence. From there if needed the law enforcement
can take the tracking to the real world. Again, this is negative for those individual wrongly
suspected as a possible sex offender. It invades their privacy of the person, from knowing what
they do at home to how many times they visit the grocery store a week. This violates the Fourth
Amendment to the US Constitution which states that we have the right to secure their persons,
houses, etc., but it is difficult to draw the line where it becomes legal like as soon as one leaves
their house (Levinson-Waldman, 2017). Most people are not well informed about laws because
they are always changing. It is their fault for not knowing what every law is, but the government
agencies should not take advantage of this or find holes in the laws that allow them to do as they
please. Especially on the internet because it has been found that one can collect as much
information on someone and do anything, they want with it because the internet does not have
regulations to prevent this.
Additionally, businesses can also do the same things that the government agencies are
doing. When people use the internet for buying products, searching a location, or researching
information they leave a data trial, which is collected by businesses. The business will collect a
large amount of data to improve their websites or advertisement locations (Martin, 2016). This is
a beneficial method for business to get more people interested and happy with their experience in
their websites. However, it is unpleasant to know that someone is collecting personal information
about someone or population and using it for their own gain. The issue is that it is not illegal to
do so and where does the Fourth Amendment become a factor if the internet browsing is done at
home. It is invading private thoughts, actions, feelings and it is completely legal to do such an
unwelcoming act (Tortell, 2017). The other issue that businesses have control of is preventing a
consumer from writing a negative review. When accepting term and conditions for using a
service, people fail to read the entire agreement form because of its daunting length. Although, it
is completely legal to suppress negative criticism it is unfavorable for the users (Goldsborough,
2016). It would not be honest for a product or service to have only positive reviews and failing to
give consumers to truth. This is like false advertisement which people have been sued for.
Furthermore, this regulation also conflicts with the First Amendment to the US Constitution,
which states that its people have the right to the freedom of speech. Businesses shouldn’t use
RUNNING HEAD: No Online Surveillance

such underhanded methods to achieve unethical goals. It is difficult to suppress a country with a
tradition in freedom of speech and not receive backlash (Cooper, 2012).
Moreover, this data collection service allows identity scammers to fool victims into
revealing personal information. Websites have a system where people can enter credit card
information and even ask if they want to save the information to make it quicker to purchase
items. By not integrating human rights into the internet’s architecture, it gives these soulless
people the power to make fake websites for their own personal gain (Cath & Floridi, 2017). As a
result, people can lose a lot of money or have their reputation ruined. There are methods to
prevent this issue from occurring like using a biometric security which can use a finger print as a
password to purchase an item, reading for significant spelling mistakes, or using a virtual private
network (VPN), which prevents suspicious internet users from accessing the flow of data
(Hennig, 2018). Even though, that there are many methods to prevent online scammers from
accessing internet users should have to overly rely on these sources if the internet is safe as it has
been claimed. There should be regulations that will prove the website to be safe or provide
security methods for consumers if the government doesn’t intend to stop the issue themselves.
Overall, the internet does not have human rights in its designs, but there is some
advocation for it to be in future designs. The government doesn’t show that it has tight control of
the internet like China does, but they do invest a lot of time and money to stopping potential
harms to society occurring online (2012). By not regulating the internet, it is giving those who
know that the US Constitution can’t touch them, the power to do as they please. However, it does
make the possible offenders plan their crimes to avoid detection and arrest, but it is still making
it unsafe for normal internet users, even making worse if they don’t pay for a service that hides
their data trail, location, computer access, etc. They fail to see that they are overestimating the
effectiveness of their own methods to secure themselves (Jiang, 2016). As a result, they may be
prone to become victims of identity theft. There is a need to make laws or integrate rights, and
should provide equality, and individual rights and liberties (De Minico, 2013). All so that
internet users feel comfortable not as if someone is monitoring them as they browse for clothing
or whatever activity they do.
RUNNING HEAD: No Online Surveillance


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Cath, C., & Floridi, L. (2017). The Design of the Internet’s Architecture by the Internet
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RUNNING HEAD: No Online Surveillance

Jiang, M., Tsai, H. S., Cotten, S. R., Rifon, N. J., LaRose, R., & Alhabash, S. (2016).
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Standing -- Challenges to Government Surveillance -- Clapper v. Amnesty International USA.

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