POINT: Data Mining Violates Our Privacy / COUNTERPOINT: At Least SOMEONE Out There Really Knows Me

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POINT

Data Mining Violates Our Privacy

By: Neil Herrera

tnThe government has no right to monitor our personal internet use. They claim they’re doing it to combat illegal activity, but they’re really just sticking their nose into the private lives of people who aren’t doing anything wrong. Random example: let’s say, hypothetically, that some person just casually Googled “scuba diving porn”, “watch amateur scuba diving porn online”, and “snorkel sluts 3 full movie free download” in the privacy of my own home. Sounds like an average Tuesday night, right? So why would the government need to butt in and start keeping tabs on everything?

Even in the name of trying to catch child molesters or cyberterrorists or whatever, the ends simply do not justify the means of spying on innocent civilians. I’m a law-abiding man. Or rather, I have started following laws that have recently been applied specifically to me. Look, I’ve upheld my end of the restraining order, okay? If the government has a right to keep me “500 feet away from public beaches at all times”, then I should have a right to keep the government out of my personal space as well. End of discussion.

COUNTERPOINT

At Least SOMEONE Out There Really Knows Me

By: Erica Flanagan

womanYou may call it an invasion of privacy, but I think it’s kind of romantic.

Think about it – with all the personal information they’ve collected from monitoring my internet use, the government knows me better than any other person in my life does. Could my husband write out a list of every article I’ve read in the past two months? Nope. But the NSA probably could. And do you know what it’s like to have somebody actually pay attention to you for once? Every year I remind my husband that I like dark chocolate, and every year he forgets and ends up buying me all this white chocolate bullshit for our anniversary. And it’s like, come on, I could’ve just mentioned “dark chocolate” in a single line of an e-mail from 2008 and the government would remember that about me forever.

I mean, if the NSA really has been paying close attention to everything I’ve posted online, from my office newsletters to my angstiest high school LiveJournal poetry, then they know the real me like nobody else ever could. They’ve seen me at my worst, they’ve seen me at my best, and – assuming they have access to my Snapchat – they’ve seen my vagina. From like, thirty different angles.

I guess sometimes you can be surrounded by people and still feel alone, you know? And when I’m feeling that way, it’s just reassuring to know that there’s at least one government agency out there that really gets me. Sometimes when I’m lying in bed at night, I imagine the NSA swooping in to take me away from all of this, stroking my hair and listening to my problems as they nod and say, “We understand. We really do. We care about what you have to say.”

Imagine the raw intimacy of that moment.

So, to the National Security Agency of the United States of America: you know my address already, don’t you? Come and get me any time you want me.