Government Surveillance


I hope that an amendment will be passed that will make all forms of Government Surveillance illegal without a proper search warrant.


What I've noticed:
If you don't read anything on this page, at least Read This Paragraph:

After I finished this blog, I started to notice these really creepy, and almost scary things happening. Throughout the process one question was on my mind. Will I be targeted by the government? Now I was always kidding around when I thought about it, but strange things started happening. Also, the Patriot Act has a decree that you cannot talk about any case pertaining to it, but the law was found to be unconstitutional in many court cases. So what started to happen... Well as I researched the topic of government surveillance, I gathered a list of websites that I wanted to use and saved them. However, when I went back to the websites, the majority of them seemed like they were removed from the internet especially the ones about my last blog. The one about the student who was targeted by the pentagon. As I did the last blog, I was in the process of looking up more websites and literally the second time I went to view them, they were shut down. It was almost like someone was watching what websites I was watching, then shut them down. Now I'm almost expecting an FBI agent to come knocking on my door some day. Or wait, they will just do illegal searches first to see what I've been up to.

Originally I wanted to do this project only on traffic cameras, or commonly referred to as red light cameras, then I decided to broaden the topic to Government Surveillance. The reason why I’m doing this topic is because over this past summer, I received a letter from Nassau County, New York. Enclosed in the mail were three pictures; two of were of some random minivan that I had never seen before, and the third was of an intersection. Also in the letter, was hefty fine of 150 dollars for running the red light. Now clearly this was wrong because I have never owned a minivan and it was clear in one of the pictures that my license plate didn’t match the one from the vans. So they fined the wrong person and the real culprit got away with it. What also aggravated me was the fact that it took me a couple of hours just to get out of the ticket! So that’s my reason for doing this project, to learn more about Traffic Cameras and about other forms of Government surveillance that exists.

Take That TSA:
external image 13782919_BG11.jpegThis article is about a 21 year old Virginia citizen who decided to use his fourth amendment right to elude the airport scanner. He was handcuffed and detained for about 90 minutes because he wrote a shortened version of the fourth amendment on his chest. When he refused to use the scanner, and opted for the intrusive pat-down as allowed by the airport security. It was then that he took off his shirt to protest the security measures that he was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge and was detained for 90 minutes. To me this is a lot of bull. Yes the scanners violate your fourth amendment right, but it is for the good for the general public. The TSA is able to have the scanners in place because they treat everyone who has to go through them as known terrorist, and by law, terrorists have no civil rights. However, after they pass through the scanners, they become ordinary citizens again? Whatever happened to the amendment that states everyone is innocent until proven guilty? Clearly this is not the case here. So every time we are giving into airport security, we are enabling the government to violate our fourth amendment rights.

@dmkravets, Follow. "Man With 4th Amendment Written on Chest Sues Over Airport Arrest." Conde Nast Digital, 14 Mar. 2011. Web. 15 May 2012. <>.

Progress, but not a solution.
Two years ago a federal judge ruled the NSA’s surveillance programs without warrants were illegal based upon the federal stature that required a court approval for domestic surveillance. This ruling is significant because it finally protected the rights of a Muslim Citizen. It also delivered a blow to the Bush administration that enabled wiretapping shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Bush’s administration claimed that the wire taps were legal at the time even though they didn’t have warrants.
Although this is not a law that stops unlawful surveillance, it’s a step in the right direction. There have been many cases like this one that exposes the NSA surveillance programs as unlawful. The judicial branches need to take action and finally rule this program unconstitutional once and for all. Legislation has overhauled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which now mandates the federal government to obtain a proper warrant before focusing on American citizens or organizations inside the United States.

Risen, Charlie Savage And James. "N.S.A. WIRETAPS WERE UNLAWFUL, U.S. JUDGE RULES." The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Apr. 2010. Web. 17 May 2012. <>.

The Patriot Act:
On May 26, 2011, Congress passed a four year extension for the Patriot Act. Congress knew it would take more time to amend the Patriot Act to grant more civil liberties, so they just wrote an extension for the previous version. Talk about being lazy. Even though there have been numerous amendments to the original Patriot Act, Congress and the public still don’t know how information is being collected and how it is being used. Now to me that doesn’t make sense. Why on Earth would you pass an amendment if you don’t know how it works? That’s down right stupid. Also, there are no apparent limits on how the government can acquire their intelligence and what they can do with the data. The government doesn’t even have to tell the courts when, where, what was being obtained, or even even the premise for the search thanks to the ”roving John Doe wiretap” provisions. So basically the government agencies can obtain anything that pertains to terrorism even if it has nothing to do with terrorism, they can store it as long as they want for future reference, they can target any American citizen or group, and they don’t even have to tell them that they are obtaining intelligence until afterwords. Now that does not sound like its Constitutional does it? That’s because it’s not and the system of checks and balances is broken.

"American Civil Liberties Union." American Civil Liberties Union. Web. 21 May 2012. <>.

The Patriot Act, where do you draw the line:
I always thought of the Patriot act as a good Act that helped out law enforcement to find terrorists. However, after reading this article, it is evident that law enforcement abuses the power of the patriot act and the whole system of checks and balances is corrupt. This article is a wake up call that needs to be taken seriously. It is credited from five government affiliated sites as well as findings from the courts so the author is not making anything up.4537716298_bush_patriot_act_answer_4_xlarge.jpeg

The Patriot Act turns regular citizens into terrorists. It grants the Government the power to spy on ordinary citizens without a warrant and in some instances they don't even have to tell them about it until after the matter. Which means you could walk into your home one night and find out that it was turned upside down and there's nothing you can do about it. Here's how they do it: National Security letters (NSL's) are issued by FBI agents to obtain information. They can "legally" search your phone records, credit card transactions, computer records, and banking history without a judge's approval. Now the information that gets collected doesn't have to be destroyed even if it has no connections to any sort of terrorism. So now all of the law enforcement agencies have these records without your knowledge and there's nothing you can do about it. Actually in fact you can't even talk to anyone about it; there is a provision in the Act that prohibits any American who receives NSL's from telling someone.

To all of my readers, I highly recommend reading this article. It will literally take five seconds to read and you will be downright shocked.

"American Civil Liberties Union." American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU, 24 Oct. 2011. Web. 19 May 2012. <>.

Facebook will revolutionize the world, but not as a social website:
Facebook is now getting even creepier. There is a new technology on Facebook that utilizes facial recognition to automatically tag your friends in a picture that you post. It
was built originally to save the user time when posting mass photos on their account, but the potential application for this technology is alarming. Facebook has over 600 million members, each day about 200 million photos are uploaded, and currently there are over 90 billion photos on Facebook. Facebook would become the single biggest database for facial recognition in the world and your face is as private as anything else. So in the near future, someone can take a picture of say Mike on the street somewhere and be able to find information on him via the internet. Now that is downright creepy. This technology can easily turn into the next generation of identity theft not to mention an invasion of privacy.

Purewal, Sarah J. "Why Facebook's Facial Recognition Is Creepy." PCWorld. 8 June 2011. Web. 21 May 2012. <>.

Military Drones in our backyard:

There is a short video clip in this article that does a pretty good job of explaining how
these drones could be used in the future for government surveillance. There are currently being used overseas for reconnaissance missions and are patrolling our borders. There have been
a few instances where these drones were used for law enforcement and for just flying around, but here's the scoop. The government is allowed to randomly fly around if they aren't targeting anything specific. However, if they happen to see you let's say outside mowing the lawn, then they have 90 days to decide what to do. They can either destroy the footage right away, or they can take a close examination at it. Either way, they have 90 days to do whatever they want with the footage before it has to be destroyed. If you have time follow the link below and watch the video. It's about three minutes long, but it is very educational.

Herridge, Catherine. "Privacy Concerns as US Government Rolls out Domestic Drone Rules."Fox News. FOX News Network, 14 May 2012. Web. 22 May 2012. <>.

College student targeted by his own government:
Konstanty Hordynski, a college student at the U.C. Santa Cruz stood out in protest with several of his other classmates. Their group SAW, or Students Against War, was a peaceful protest to prevent the military recruiters from recruiting. Their plan was well thought out and methodical. This is what they did:

They had several kids stand in line questioning the recruiters to occupy them so they couldn't actually see students who were interested. At the same time, another group of students had a rally and protested inside the job fair where the recruiters were. The peaceful protest was then not allowed inside the job fair, where the recruiters were, and were forced out. The protesters tried to go back in, but were blocked by the police. They decided to continue protesting outside of the job fair.

Here is when things get creepy. The students found out that their event was put on a pentagon list of "credible threats" with several other events. Then, they find out that they were illegally spied on by the FBI. Now that is just creepy. If a Peaceful protest was put on a pentagon list of "credible threats", then who knows what else might be on there. Now the Pentagon is claiming that they were put on by mistake, but their protest wasn't the only one. And if the government is making mistakes on what is a threat to home land security, then there's a problem in and of its self.

As a result of the illegal surveillance, the university sued the Pentagon and affiliated government agencies for the illegal searches.

"Statement - Konstanty Hordynski, Target of Illegal Spying." American Civil Liberties Union. 14 Feb. 2006. Web. 22 May 2012. <>.