Bigger Monster Weaker Chains Summary

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Matthew Wilday Science, Ethics, and Technology Dr. Celeste Friend April, 5th, 2014 Do you want your private life to become public? In the article “Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains” Stanley and Steinhardt describe a world in which this exact situation happens and what would come to realization. They begin describe the tyrannical grasp the government has on surveillance and data collection, in addition the repercussions of this data reaching the outside world. Government and general surveillance is growing at an enormous rate in which Stanley and Steinhardt warn the public about. In addition give possible solutions to help ratify the problem. Stanley and Steinhardt begin explaining how the government “eye” is growing at a rapid pace through…show more content…
This type is “the collection of information about an identifiable individual, often from multiple sources, that can be assembled into a portrait of that person’s activities” (Stanley, Steinhardt 191) Most computers these days a programmed to track someone’s usage throughout the day. Stanley and Steinhardt continue to demonstrate a major driving force for data surveillance and that is the commodification of personal information. With the computer technology booming within the last decades, making in simpler to collect data about what Americans buy and do has become an essential marketing strategy for businesses. It gives these businesses a reason to know about their consumers thoroughly. They continue to expose that every mouse click is recorded and business can now track not only what you buy, but also what you have been looking…show more content…
Stanley and Steinhardt explain how the government has “unmatched power” to collect all the private sector data that is being produced (Stanley, Steinhardt 194). The vast amount of government bases that contain an abundance of information on American lives include databases in the FBI, The Treasury Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, and State databases. The authors stress the USA Patriot Act, enacted just six weeks after 9/11 while the government was in a frenzy. This act allowed the government to expand its power to survey its own citizens and reduce the balances on powers such as judicial oversight. The authors continue to explain the act had nothing to do with fighting terrorism to its core but rather it rolled back the unwanted checks on power the FBI had. The provisions the patriot act had were: easy to access records, expansion of the “pen register” exception in wiretap law, expansion of the intelligence exception in the wiretap law, and more secret searches. Easy to access records give the power of forcing anyone to hand over records on customers including financial records, medical history, internet usage, and travel patterns. The expansion of the “pen register” explains that the FBI does not need probable cause to perform a wiretap. Expansion of intelligence refers to the power of the government not needing to justify a wiretap or physical search. Lastly

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