Security is paramount for the development of any nation. Today we are living in a world where security is increasingly being threatened by terrorists across the globe. The National Security Agency has an obligation to ensure security to American citizens by providing other organs of the state with the intelligence information necessary to undertake their work. Even the strongest proponent of right of privacy will agree that that right carries a responsibility. If not checked, the right of expression and privacy granted to the American citizens may be abused by the enemy and end up compromising the security of the nation.
Information empowers and although many of the proponents of broad access to government information argue that openness increases accountability, its true also that due to threats posed by terrorists it has become increasingly important to keep certain security information secret. Restriction to access of information and technology belonging to NSA will keep the terrorists in the dark and deny them knowledge of the strategies NSA is using to counteract them. Surveillances should also be done secretly without the knowledge of those being surveyed for it to yield raw intelligence information (Friedlander, 86).Information held by NSA should be treated like state secrets and restricted in circulation. It should also be that the surveillance itself and the means by which its accomplished should remain secret to avoid hacking or other malpractices and to avoid its constitutionality being challenged in court. This is having in mind that there have been cases in the past when such cases have been brought in the courts.
The fourth amendment to the US constitution deals with right of privacy. This right was granted by the constitution to avoid abuse of the government’s right of access to private residences for searches. It was also extended to cover private conversations. The amendment protects American citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents and where it is reasonable to conduct a search they should obtain a warrant. Under the same amendment it is illegal to monitor and record private conversations within the United States.
The NSA surveillance should not be seen to violate the fourth amendment because it is reasonable to monitor a conversation belonging to a person seen as a threat to the nation’s security and such a person should not expect her call to be treated as private when its content affects the security of the country (Miller, 17).If the NSA was to allow unrestricted access to its information, the ensuing court cases will be many of people claiming their right of privacy has been violated since they were spied on. Furthermore it can be argued using the words ‘reasonable’ and ‘private’ in the fourth amendment that it is constitutional to monitor someone’s conversation when that person is suspected of being a threat to the security of the United States. It should also be understood that such people should not reasonably expect their conversation to be treated as private.