AP Government Post #4

The federal government has stepped up surveillance of citizens in the name of combating  a terrorist threat, many issues like this deal with civil liberties and civil rights and are brought to the foreground of American politics.  How much information should the federal government have about the private lives of American citizens?

This post will close on Friday April 5 at 11:59 PM

90 thoughts on “AP Government Post #4

  1. In my personal opinion, the government shouldn’t have that much at all. If I recall we have a right to privacy. However, I think that privacy should be only revoked if a person has committed an offense necessary to survey their information. It would certainly save them time, by eliminating useless surveillance.

    • I definatly agree with this every citizen is able to have their own right to privacy. However like you have stated before if someone does an offense crime that onvolves there privacy tooken away is acceptable because now that is infringing on someones rights.

      • I agree that the government should not have all of the citizens’ information. But since United States government functions amid trade offs of privacy and safety, the federal government should at least have information like taxes, identification info, public surveillance etc..

    • I completely agree with you Cameron. Our privacy rights should only be protected unless some does commit a crime that realistic needs montorization. And I also agree that time wasted on survalience could be spent on other more important things.

  2. I think that the government should have some set guidelines they must follow when surveying the privacy of the public. It’s necessary for them to have some access to prevent crime and such. The government probably doesn’t care how we live our lives and as long as they never do anything with the useless personal information they find everything should be alright. We are supposed to give up some of our privacy to ensure our protection. Basically it’s ok that the government does all this.

    • I agree with you. I believe that the government should have access to our privacy but I don’t think that they should have so much access that they abuse our privacy.

    • I agree with you both, as long as the power isn’t being abused, we as a society have been getting along just fine without having to revisit the issue. The government is doing well on this front as it is.

    • I do think the government needs some sort of access to prevent certain crimes. There should however be a guideline like you mentioned. I also believe there must be some form of reason to access our privacy as citizens.

    • Well said, protection comes at a price. If that price is some information, oh well. But if they are literally tracking everything we say and where we go, where is the line drawn?

  3. While many believe that the government is overreaching in it’s attempts to prevent terrorist acts, it is important work that is done for the better of our community. The government should just look heavily on people who exhibit signs of possibly acting out such as having a gun or saying things online. Someone who does not show signs of trying to attempt an act of terrorism should be monitored less.

    • I agree. We as citizens do have a right to privacy, but the behavior of the government in regards to monitoring potential acts of terrrorism is appropriate for the current shape of society. I think the big concern with the government monitoring certain people more/less is that there is no way to make sure that the monitoring is impartial. There is a potential for monitors to typecast, stereotype, or view someone as more of a threat due to a precious experience, which could be unfair. I feel that after negotiation and debate about what certain qualities or behavior someone must exhibit to be on the “highly monitored” list should be defined and special cases must be made to stray from those traits.

      • I agree. I think we should offer special training to those who monitor these things, so they know what to look for and to help them be less biased.

    • I agree with you. The government should respect people’s privacy unless they give the government some reason to be suspicious. I understand that the government should have access to peoples privacy but I don’t think the government should abuse their power.

    • I agree with your statements. It’s easy to tell when someone has a history of wrongdoings and these people should be monitored more.

    • I agree, we should all have our privacy, but if something concerning is being said and someone is making threats, then the government should have the power and right to look into it

    • I agree with you in that the government should look for people who exhibits irregular and dangerous behaviors. This can be achieved by analyzing the frequency of certain words or phrases in the person’s social media accounts, texts etc. People who are found to be “safe” should be much more excluded in the government’s surveillance.

    • I agree, the government should be allowed to view those suspected of terrorism for the protection of the nation as a whole. But when does that begin? Does simply searching a terrorist group’s name call for government monitoring? When does it impede on the freedom of speech and religion? It’s an interesting debate.

    • I mostly agree with you. I think if someone shows acts of potentially being a territorist they should be monitored; However if the person shows no signs of being a danger then they should not be monitored at all.

  4. Everyone has the right to privacy and I believe that the government should not take away that right unless absolutely necessary. If a person commits a crime or is a terrorist then I believe that the government should have access to that person’s personal life. As for other everyday people, I believe that the government should not snoop in their business unless they are a suspect or if the government has suspicions about them.

    • I agree a person should exhibit signs of being a possible threat like having a criminal record or having alarming internet searches or posts online otherwise the government shouldn’t have the right to invade the privacy of everyday people.

    • I agree that the government needs to respect people’s right to privacy. The government should not constantly monitors people’s lives unless it endangers the safety of the public. There needs to be probable cause before the government is allowed to survey someone.

    • I second that. They need not focus on gathering as much data as possible, and narrow it down to people known to have some form of criminal background.

  5. I feel that the current state of our society and the world gives the government full means to have more information about our personal lives than in the past. There should definitely be strict restrictions on what can and cannot be monitored and regulations to ensure that everybody involved in the program and the information obtained is safe. I feel that in order to effectively execute the program, their would have to be many debates and negotiations, including public opinion, about what should and should not be monitored, as well as what warrants someone being placed on a stricter monitoring list than others. There will have to be clear, concise behaviors or traits that are exhibited by a person, as well as probable cause for placing someone on that list beyond the characteristics alone (has a criminal record, for example). Privacy is important but protection against national and foreign terrorism is also essential to maintain a functioning government in the 21 century.

    • Yes I agree with some points that the government should have acess to people however that acess should be limited. We as citizens still have our right to privacy but just like u said until there are reasons to take it away.

    • A detailed definition on what constitutes as privacy in this age of internet would be very helpful in determining the rights of citizens from a perspective of what they send to each other or post online.

    • I agree with you Meagan totally but the Government needs to be careful of accidental profiling and racial discrimination people which is kinda the current state of how State “security” has been lately. We need to find other alternatives or actually traits that are key markers or terrorist not just Nationality, race, or Religion.

  6. I believe the amount of power the government has should be limited, but should still have some power. If there is a threat and a person exhibits signs of being a possible danger to the country or to others than they should be able to investigate and invade a persons right to privacy but I also feel like this should be like how the police get a warrant to search a persons stuff, then the government should get a warrant as well. The government shouldn’t be able to invade a persons right to privacy without probable cause.

    • I like the concept of having to have a warrant. I hadn’t thought of that but I agree that it should be a necessary measure to begin monitoring someone more. The thing that worries me about allowing the government to monitor citizens more, despite the strong regulations and strict policies/procedures they must follow, is WHO would be responsible for issuing warrants, and if they can be impartial and not include personal bias when deciding who is exhibiting “threatening” traits.

    • I agree with what you say, you’re totally right in that aspect the government should obtain a warrent of sorts for people who exhibit signs of being a potential threat to society. They should be limited to what they can infringe on Americans right to privacy.

    • I agree with you. The warrant is a good point. The government shouldn’t have more ability to invade people’s privacy than the police do. They do need to be able to keep the country safe but people also deserve to have the right of privacy. There should be able to be a balancing point where the government can keep people safe without invading privacy.

    • I agree with you. People should be able to have privacy but the government also needs to be able to protect people. If they have probable cause they should be able to invade privacy.

    • I agree, there would be a better balance of power if the government had to obtain a warrant. But it could mean action to prevent terrorist attacks could take longer and may even be too late. So the system would have to balance being through and being efficient.

  7. While we as US citizens have a right to privacy, it is understandable that the government have a certain amount. I’m not sure exactly how much of our privacy the government should be able to have, as I can’t think of a circumstance for all cases, but I do believe that we should have at least some privacy as US citizens. THough, the government for further investigation/access should have a probable cause.

    • I agree that we should have our privacy as long as there is no probable cause. The government doesn’t need to overdo personal research.

  8. The federal government should have a good amount of information about American citizens private lives just to help prevent potential threats to the U.S.. But I also believe that they shouldn’t be allowed to keep or store all of our data and information if it doesn’t help or aid in any prevention of threats. They should have a limit to what they can do with our information after they determine whether or not a person is a threat. But I do believe that we do have to sacrifice a part of our rights to privacy since protecting the country is more important than a post about what restaurants you visited in the past hours.

    • I agree that the government can survey citizens to a certain extent. This is necessary to keep the public safe and limit crimes. Those who do not have any criminal history or any sign of threat to the public should not be surveyed.

  9. I feel that the federal government should keep track on people who show a threat to others or the nation. For other people they should just track basic things like their social media posts

    • I agree to a certain extent, but social media wouldn’t be enough as you can easily not post something or mention it on your profiles. So while threatening people should be more monitored, social media isn’t enough for “normal” people.

  10. The American government should have enough information but not to much. What that essentially means is that if yhe governemnt has a probable cause to look in to you and invade your privacy then they have the right to do it if its affecting or harming the lives of other. If that is not the case then the privacy of citizens should not be easy accesbile to the government.

  11. I feel that government should have power but only to a certain extent. People should be able to have their own freedoms to do what they want to do unless it put others in danger or violates anyone else’s rights. There will probably always be controversy over this topic because people will always have opposing feelings.

  12. I think that the government shouldn’t have too much information on our private lives, but they shouldn’t be able to abuse the information that they do have. Any information they have shouldn’t be used against us in any way unless it poses a strong and clear threat to another person or group of people.

    • I agree, but I think there comes a point where it may become necessary to observe us in order to prevent crime or catch criminals.

  13. Citizens naturally should have a right to privacy. Though, there is still the topic of probable cause. If a person has done anything suspicious or is probable to be affiliated to any criminal group, I’d say that that’s enough for the government to access whatever they need to access.

    • I agree that citizens should naturally have the right to privacy. Unless there is a probable cause with undeniable evidence. Yet I even think there should be a limit on the amount of private information that is accessed.

      • I agree. We should be able to feel that our conversations are our own and will remain private unless there is real evidence that we are infringing on other’s rights or freedoms.

  14. My opinion is that the government should only hold a limited amount of personal information. This is unless there is undeniable evidence that the person is a suspect of some crime in which investigation is necessary. I believe we all have the right to privacy that simply is a human right I believe.

    • Yes, I strongly agree that the government should only watch over the real criminals who really need it. Us as citizens have personal rights to be able to have our own privacy that we deserve, and if we take that advantage then that is when it should be allowed.

    • I agree with your statement, the government should give the public their privacy, and should only closely monitor high-risk individuals, that could assert a threat to the public.

    • I agree. Privacy is a right, though it’s not a right to be taken advantage of. If you want people to respect your right to privacy, you must respect those who give you that right to privacy by following their law.

    • I agree. Once someone is being questioned for a crime, then that’s when the government can “invade” that persons privacy.

  15. I would understand why the government would want to keep an eye on every single citizen, but that does not mean that they should rudely interrupt our privacy, we as Americans have rights that protect that specific situation. In my opinion, I feel that there are other ways to make sure we are safe without totally taking away our privacy. Sometimes the government goes too far in “watching” over us. Certain things need to STAY private and the government should not have control over that. In all honesty, I feel they have NO right to find sneaky ways to watch us at ALL times. However, it is important to make sure we are safe as a society but there are OTHER ways to do it.

    • I agree with the fact that the government should not be allowed to watch our every single movement and we, as citizens, should have our right to privacy. But in terms of security and safety, the government should be able to access files of those only when suspected of crimes against the U.S. and are involved in terrorist activities. But other than that, they should allow citizens our freedom of privacy.

  16. The government should know most basic things about an individual’s life, for example: their ID, their home/work address, their medical history etc. These basic things should be informed to the government for general security and well being of every citizen, but that might be all they should know. Private matters of the general public such as what a person searches on the web, or does each day after they wake up from bed up until they go back to bed should not be monitored by the government. While an individual would be unaware of such things happening to them, they will probably be troubled knowing the government knows such details about them.

  17. I think it is necessary and good to put up traffic cameras and other public surveillance in order to prevent and catch criminal activity, but I feel that listening to private cell phone conversations or conversations in the privacy of your own home is too much of a violation.

  18. The government should be able to monitor a person if they suspect suspicious or terrorist activity. This is necessary to prevent crimes and keep the public safe. In order to maintain the privacy of citizens, there should be strict rules governing how far the government is allowed to survey citizens based on how severe the potential threat could be. Although many people are overly paranoid about the government’s surveillance, it is unlikely that the government will survey 300 million law-abiding citizens for fun without probable cause. Thus, government surveillance should be allowed if a person displays clear signs of danger.

    • As you mentioned previously, the government should only monitor a citizen only when they exhibit suspicious or terrorist activity. One of the ways they can find these suspicious behaviors is looking for keywords in a person’s search history. Therefore, any threatening searches would be detected and an investigation would be initiated. Meanwhile, any other personal information or searches would be ignored. This would allow citizens to retain some privacy rights as well as protected from malicious people.

  19. The government should have a limited amount of information on citizens. For starters, the government should be able to know about our basic backgrounds like our work records, tax payments, and identification. They should be able to go through our emails and search history only when certain keywords are typed in. This is to monitor malicious people and stop people from learning how to murder someone from the internet. Furthermore, the government should not be able to access webcam or listen to our conversation without a good reason to such as suspicious behavior through search histories.

    • I agree with you. Every citizen has a certain amount of privacy but also a certain amount of information the government needs to know.

    • I agree with watching keywords as that can be a useful and effective way to look out at people.Someone who searches how to create a bomb should be monitored. I do not believe that the government just watches what we say or do unless they have suspicions. There are too many Americans to watch to effectively listen to everything everyone does.

  20. In my opinion, every citizen deserves some sense of privacy, but a a certain point, the safety of others and our country as a whole becomes more important than any individuals privacy. I believe that if a citizen has at any point demonstrated any suspicious behavior then they have lost their right of privacy and the government should monitor their online behavior.

  21. The most information federal government should have on the private life of their citizens should be the information they are already gathering now. Some would argue that the information that is bought through the services we use is too intrusive but I beg to differ. It’s at the absolute perfect point of where the government should stop its surveillance before becoming harmful to our lives. Think about how much dirty secrets the government has collected from you over the years and notice how everything around you is normal. The federal government understands that their daily breech of privacy is destructive over our right to privacy but they keep our sensitive information out of public hands so well that it seems unnecessary to revolt against it. However the reason this won’t stop terrorist attacks is because there is still limits to their surveillance being upheld. They could make the spying on citizens way more apparent with increases in cameras and microphones throughout the nation. Basically, in order to put a stop to terrorist attacks we have to answer which is more important, our privacy or our safety?

    • I agree with Anthony on the fact that to better protect someone , yourself, and the nation there needs to be a choice in privacy or safety. Generally , people live their lives with no true criminal offense so they should not feel worried about government security in possession of information. Many people post photos of themselves with Marijuana or other substances but the government and fbi hasn’t sent anyone to break down their doors and arrest them. Most of the time the government is searching for key words, codes, or phrases that raise a red flag to the theat against the nation, city, or groupings of people.

    • You have an amazing argument and I couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying. The government has gathered up so much information on everyone in the life time everyone has when connected to others and they really haven’t acted on it at all. They keep it private unless you’re a real threat to society. You have a well thought out point and I agree that our safety should be more important than our privacy. Otherwise where would we be today?

  22. I believe that the Government should have the bare minimum information about its citizens. I understand the argument that to have security and feel safe you have to give up a bit of your freedom and that is understandable but the idea of having an overarching big brother that monitors ever purchase, phone call, text, and picture taken is a bit extreme. I believe that most things or this Country we need to find a better balance.

  23. While private security is a key right guaranteed by the Constitution, the government does have the ability to know some things about its citizens. The idea that it is to stop crime and terrorism is a good idea, but it is not always what it is used for. When used the wrong way, it is seen as unnecessary government intervention in our lives which is nonsense and against the founding father’s principles and ideas. However, it is always good to consider the Nothing to Hide Argument, which says if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, this is a very true idea but ultimately there are some things the government should know, like your name, your SS, stuff like that, but the government shouldn’t have access to things like your DNA.

  24. The right to privacy is becoming a huge issue in the United States. All citizens have a right to privacy but there are some circumstances in which the government should be able to see and know certain information about citizens. No one really knows how much the government can see and what they track and it could be much better or much worse than expected. The government’s intention is for the safety of the citizens but there are many things the citizens should be able to have privately. I think the government should only get involved when a red flag has come up about a person of suspicious activity or in an investigation of such behaviors.

    • With technology advancements being released faster than ever, it is difficult for the government to keep up with what they should keep track of in regard to the information citizens put into this technology. I also wonder how much does the government really know about us.

  25. Personally, I feel as if the government needs to have a certain amount of information on everyone to better the system itself. Basic info about status in personal relationships (i.e. married or single), business and wealth, and overall living is important to better understand the dynamics of the nation. Although there is a right to privacy, many people choose to have social media accounts that they choose to share all of their information and daily lives on. If you share something on a social media account I feel as if it’s fair game for the government to know and handle. Thus, people who threaten others and share violent ideas can be monitored but all they know about someone who posts food is their name, age, and what they like to eat.

    • I agree. The examples you stated of information the federal government should have are staples necessary to upholding the economy of the United States, important to the IRS, federal banks, etc. If information is not given or not accurately provided, that would directly affect the economy.

  26. I don’t think that the government should have much access at all. They should be able to access anything if they have probable cause but otherwise people should have the right to privacy. The government should be able to access basic information and anything that the person publicly shares. Social media is an example of this. If someone puts information out where people can find it then the government should be able to use it. But things like monitoring phone calls or emails shouldn’t be allowed without reason. People have the right to feel safe most of what they do is private. At the very least if privacy is going to be invaded people should have the right to know exactly what the government looks at.

    • The government thinks they can do whatever they please, to be honest. Someone needs to make sure everything they plan on doing is transparent for the citizens.

  27. The government definitely should not have all of the information on citizens, but the debate lies in how much information is necessary. Overall, this problem is a balance between privacy and safety, as it is necessary for the government to have at least enough information to effectively protect and manage a country as big as the U.S.. First of all, tax information is necessary for the economy to function. Identification info such as birth certificates and fingerprints are also need to effectively Then, the government should be able to monitor people based on the frequency of the words that they use, which is much quicker and more reliable than simply monitoring everybody. Therefore, the government should not be able to casually access a citizen’s daily data and transactions.

    • I agree, the government certainly needs to have basic data on its citizens, as you mentioned birth certificate or dna. And not accsessing private information a person would not like share.

    • I agree. There is a delicate balance between public safety and individual privacy. This is a controversial topic and finding the correct balance is hard.

    • As you mention, the government should not have every single information on citizens but rather a limited amount. For example, the government needs information like our tax information to ensure that they are paying the government taxes. Furthermore, they should monitor certain keywords typed in our search history to ensure that malicious people aren’t using the internet for ill intent. This will provide some form of protection and prevention of malicious plots.

  28. In my opinion, the government should have little information on people and their lives. The only information the at the government should need is a persons name, phone, address and, a person’s political veiws. If they had access to too much of our information, that would be an invasion of privacy.

    • So interesting comment. How are political views seen as important information for the government but criminal records, flagged conversations ( clear threat or presence of possible threat) not necessary to what a government needs to better secure our country from attacks and threats.

    • I agree with your statement, and I never thought that political views would be a necessary piece of information for the government but like how you included that. A person’s personal information should be kept private and the government should only need to know what is necessary.

  29. Personally, I believe the government should be limited in its knowledge of citizens private lives. But as we evolve as a society, we share more and more of our private lives. Eventually, as technology progresses, will likely share the entirety of ourselves. The government is already involved with this, using evidence from apps and self-posted photos to prosecute others. As much as I believe in the necessity of privacy, the government will have access to our internet selves and since we are putting it out there, it is within their jurisdiction to view it. Overall, I believe the government is allowed to freely view what would already be seen, if by a witness or simply scrolling.

    • I agree entirely that the government should be able to access online profiles and posts for information on a citizen. These are public platforms, even though the citizen may have his or her profile on private settings. I agree that anything posted on social media or the internet in general should be information that the government can access.

  30. The government should feel no need to collect information on citizens who have already been living here for a extended period of time, and instead focus on screening any newcomer whether they are coming from say Austria, Thailand, or Nicaragua, just to prohibit links to possible terrorism or other malicious intent. Surveillance from groups such as the NSA, CIA, or CSS operate on a very fine line between violating the 4th amendment and should require more regulation and oversight into what they do even at the cost of “national security”.

  31. I personally value my privacy very much. But, I understand their is a thin line between invasion of privacy and security. The United States should still be capable of investigating suspicious people, but only with enough evidence to prove so. Often times authority figures do not understand this unfortunately.

    • Emma, I personally agree with your view on this. Government should only investigate when they have got all of their suspicions confirmed (sometimes they’ll need to take action right away, too– but that’s okay). As long as we’re keeping innocent people safe, they should be allowed to investigate and keep tabs on certain things/people. We can only hope that there are no bad apples within a certain group of people that are authority figures, however it is still a plausible assumption. We’re just going to have to hope that these federal officials have our best interests in mind.

    • I agree with you that privacy should be an important tenant in the preservation of our civil liberties, and that a fine line should be established between privacy and security.

  32. The government should only have as much information on citizens to keep the population safe. This, however, changes when suspicious behavior is portrayed. In that case, a more in depth investigation should occur– again, only if it will help keep other citizens safe. As seen in many cases, certain investigations made that have come up with an innocent citizen may seem like an invasion of privacy, bit if hopefully done with the right protocol, it will have been an entirely reasonable search, with clear motives. Sometimes it is very difficult to discover that a citizen is doing illegal activities. And they may continue to go unseen by the law for many years due to a clean image. This is terrible but the government must know its limitations on searching people.

  33. I support the fact the government has stepped up surveillance of citizens because ultimately it is to protect us. Should this ‘power’ be abused? Most certainly not, however, it’s not a bad thing in and of itself. We as a nation don’t need any more terrorist situations. These situations at hand have gotten out of control, and it is about time we are taking some precautionary action. The government should be wary of having too much info about the private lives of American citizens, because in turn they will receive necessary backlash. But maybe people should look at this as a good thing, as it might save us from turning on the news to see another terrorist attack on our people.

    • I agree, having the government watch over citizens is not as bad of a deal as many make it out to be. One of the jobs of the government is to keep America safe and keeping them safe from domestic threats just as much as from foreign threats.

  34. I agree with in order to keep it safe. But suspicion and taking things wrong could lead to inaccurate assumptions that could go completely wrong.

  35. I think that increasing surveillance is great–in theory. The government may say it is to help with terrorism, but is that all they’re really looking for? Who’s to say they’re not capable of watching us through our cameras? There are too many possible ulterior motives the government may have for me to say I completely agree. If their stated reasoning is in fact what they are trying to accomplish then I agree. There should be some way for citizens to know EXACTLY what is going on, because most of us don’t trust the government blindly anymore.

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