While the bulk collection of phone record has been over, its restoration is the most optimal decision since there are no software program adequately replacing the wiretapping system, which is what makes the solution so important minimizing the vulnerability of the United States. Of course, there are ethical concerns; however, a saved human life is the best argument to consider ethicality a conventionality avoided for a greater good. Financially, the country is on the winning side, as are its citizens. The economic weight and irreplaceability of the USA is unlikely to damage the finances due to wiretapping concerns. Wiretapping comes at a price to taxpayers, yet the system maintenance costs are not to be compared with the amount of saved funds the pre-9/11 surveillance turned out unable to save. No system other than wiretapping in tandem with internet communication service monitoring can trace would-be terrorists. Of course, the research of more transparent tracking systems in the works may be able to introduce a more ethical system of surveillance, yet before it has, the classic post-9/11 bulk collection seems an optimal option for all its unethicality. Thus, terrorism inflicts great material damage on the country that incurs financial losses; therefore, an all-out monitoring of US residents is the best solution to the issue. While such preventive action plan does trespass on some of constitutional rights, it retains the lives of those who can exert the remaining along with the financial health of the state central to social welfare.
Terrorism Is a Great Social Problem
Schwartz, Dunkel, and Waterman (2009) noted that terrorism was a chief social issue across the globe that has received a high profile from media in recent decades. Kelleher (2004) noted that a social problem had place when a considerable number of residents agree on the need to change a condition as it contravenes social norms and values. Social mobility, freedom, and achievement are the focal social values of the American mainstream culture (Naylor, 1998). Spreading havoc, throwing people into emotional dismay, and setting the authorities alert, acts of terrorism, especially if successive and impactful, leave the officialdom no option except to impose restrictions on people movement within the country, which can hypothetically affect business executives thwarting their efforts of implementing the core US capitalist value of achievement.
The solution comes in the shape of a closer surveillance that necessitates the use of conversation recording systems. Of course, the domestic surveillance agency has much to improve. It may even be better off doing the rebranding, that is, the president may repackage the agency that has gained a bad publicity. Rascoff (2016) revealed that the NSA surveillance has spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Wright and Kreissi (2015) reported that the NSA was doing more than just intercepting the communications of terrorists. It assisted the domestic industry by spying on Petrobras, a Brazilian oil company. No such activity should be under way, whether it be within the USA or abroad. The now banned bulk collection could be given second life as an additional domestic surveillance instrument; however, a monitoring body needs to be assembled, so that it may look to it that unsuspected individuals are left unchecked.
Wiretapping should receive some legal backing. Besides telephone communication, social media and internet communication programs must remain a source of intelligence on potential extremists. Rashke (2015) claimed the agency to have turned Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, YouTube, Pal Talk, AOL, Skype, and Microsoft Hotmail into its information providers, which means NSA officials could access chats, video and voice emails, files, and photos if need be. While it is personal information, with users expecting privacy protection, the monitoring can identify the individuals not previously suspected who are about to engage in an act of terror. At the minimum, the domestic surveillance tighter control needs to imply the close monitoring of the content accessible to all users, which will help identify budding violent intentions and radicalism close to making itself felt by innocent victims.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Tighter Surveillance
The advantage of an all-out surveillance like wiretapping is its aptitude at terrorism deterrence and numerous counts of financial benefits. Cognizant of the economically destructive potential of terror acts, terrorists consider the consequences the opportunity of pressurizing the governments into specific decisions (Bandyopadhyay, Sandler, and Younas, 2013). According to OECD Economic Outlook (n.d.), the demolition of physical assets during the 9/11 was equal to 2.2 and 14 billion dollars for the public and private sectors in that order. Cleanup, evacuation, and associated costs required another 11 billion. The price of financial assets took a dive. The insurance sector companies were left with no choice other than to cover losses to the amount of 58 billion still believed the single biggest disbursement in history. The terrorist attack resulted in 200.000 jobs being reallocated or lost (as cited in Linotte, 2007). The 9/11 left hundreds of people disabled, suffering, or dead in its destructive wake (Linotte, 2007). While the country loses its taxpayers, families do their breadwinners, and disabled victims lose their productive capacity, which puts additional strain on the welfare budget.
Keefer and Loayza (2008) summarized the range of costs noting that terrorism led to losses in FDI or foreign direct investment, production and trade losses, damaged infrastructure, curbed tourism and economic growth, higher insurance premiums, and security costs (as cited in Bandyopadhyay, Sandler, and Younas, 2013). Whether transnational or domestic, terrorism has a depressing effect on FDI believed an essential locomotive of development (Bandyopadhyay, Sandler, and Younas, 2013). The country becomes no longer safe losing its investment appeal since investors will turn wary of the danger of investing in infrastructural and other large-scale projects that may next in line for an attack by terrorists planning for there to be great material damage putting psychological pressure. Money loves silence, as seen from the level of prosperity of politically stable and democratically sound countries like the UK or Germany. As a result, everyone stands to lose but perpetrators.
Then again, there is no saying communication collection spells nothing negative economy-wise. The violation of business and personal financial privacy is too controversial a matter to reconcile with; thus, tighter monitoring suggestion may provoke a string of adverse economic repercussions compared to those the original revelation of NSA spying had. National Research Council of the National Academics (2015) predicted that American technology enterprises might sustain losses somewhere between 35 and 180 billion dollars when 2016 came in. Based on 2013 estimates, even a slight reduction in the intended foreign market share for cloud computing flowing from surveillance concerns had the potential of costing the country what is put between 21.5 and 35 billion dollars by 2016. The American surveillance undermined the competitive ability of the country (Castro and McQuinn, 2015). According to Kehl, Bankston, Greene, and Morgus (2014), as soon as they had learnt about the scope of surveillance programs of the US government, an estimated 26% of respondents admitted they had reduced the volume of their online banking and shopping due to the fear of them being monitored.
The surfaced fact of excessive surveillance led to Brazil deciding to grant Saab 4.5 billion dollars’ worth of a contract in spite of the former being an also-ran in the contract race and the latter being the undisputed contender. Plenty of companies cannot help but be in the process of developing products resistant to NSA due to ultimatum demands from Germany and China clients promising to boycott US cloud services and hardware they consider compromised (Kehl, Bankston, Greene, and Morgus, 2014). Cisco (n.d.) reported order from China to have dipped by 18% in 2013 following Snowden’s revelations and NASA wiretapping evidence leakage (as cited in Kehl, Bankston, Greene, and Morgus 2014). According to Spencer (2013), Hewlett-Packard, Qualcomm, Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco all had sales dropping in China in late 2013 (as cited in Kehl, Bankston, Greene, and Morgus, 2014).
What the downward sales trends similar to giant technology, consulting and other corporations means to the American economy is that the knowledge of US surveillance discourages foreign businesses and consumers both within and beyond the country from dealing with the actors of the American economy. Good news, however, is that, according to Scott (2014), interested though they are in finding alternative options, foreign government and companies alike have found it similar to an uphill task avoiding American businesses all at once due to path dependence, high transition costs, and the insufficient number of alternative partners offering product at the same market price. This holds particularly true for enterprise solutions and large government deals. Plenty of markets stay dominated by American companies, which complicates a possibly desired switch taking time, effort, and money to bring to fruition (cited in Kehl, Bankston, Greene, and Morgus, 2014).
NSA officials do no more than present overall surveillance estimates in round figures suggesting they run into billions. Kehl, Bankston, Greene, and Morgus (2014) reported the direct costs to the US taxpayers to stand at billions of dollars. It follows from this that the proposal of maintaining the vast bulk collection system is costly. Obviously, in keeping expenditure information classified, the agency does not want to give another pretext to reinforce opposition to conversation collection amidst present concerns, as the communication interception tool may be irreplaceable, which is a fact the broader public may be unwilling to see along with the entire picture. Linotte (2007) noted that terrorist attacks especially the caliber of the 9/11 necessarily culminates in the intensification of public spending on security. Just as the 2001 attack led to the tighter monitoring products like wiretapping, so too may another attack of similar proportions enabled by a more ethical, albeit less efficient preventive system lead to the now mothballed negatively branded tools being brushed off. Thus, there is no good reason the US should not spend on wiretapping it will likely have to reintroduce once the semi-functional current systems has malfunctioned, which it may for the following reasons acknowledged by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
According to Committee on Responding to Section 5(d) (2015), no software technique can fully replace the bulk collection to answer queries about the past after new targets come to knowledge. Bulk collection’s record of previous SIGINT or signals intelligence relevant to future investigations is a critical value of the system. If past events should become of interest presently, historical events and the context they give should be available for analysis of course if previously gathered. Bulk data accumulated by other parties like communication service providers may replace the outlawed system to a relative degree, yet not all providers may retain the data. More than that, the efficiency of the more ethical present system depends on how able intelligence agencies are in terms of gathering and accessing information in a timely and proficient way. Alternatives to the bulk collection of phone records are likely to bring their own concerns with respect of civil liberties and privacy (Committee on Responding to Section 5(d), 2015).
Since improvements were a response to privacy concerns, the NSA no longer conducts the tracking of conversation content unless authorized by the court ruling. The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies (2013) recommended that the government not be legally able to search communication contents without having received a warrant based on the belief in individual’s engagement in or planning of international terrorism. Medine, Brand, Cook, Dempsey, and Wald (2015) admitted that the Intelligence Community and the Administration had proved responsive to the privacy and other recommendations. According to the USA Freedom Act of 2015, the court preapproval is needed if the authorities are to access the communication of individuals suspected of terrorism. Be it as it may, the conversation content is critical. The problem is that there are domestic terrorists who may emerge from among seemingly average juveniles who go delinquent under the pressure of circumstances or under the strong impression produced by radical ideologies. Bennett (2010) suggested that the Columbine massacre shooters had zero affiliation with any terrorist cell like al Qaeda. Eventually, for want of benefits the now scrapped wiretapping system had to offer, the current surveillance system rendered ethical might not be able to track domestic lone wolves conducting terrorist attacks, which may inflict financial damage as well as claiming human lives.
However, one should not disregard the ethical dilemma the proposed solution of the comprehensive wiretapping presents. Mullikin and Rahman (2010) noted that the ethical issue consists in not only the legality of communication interception, but also the violation of public and private freedoms by the government failing a search warrant that would rationalize the collection of information. There is a haunting feeling of the government sneaking and peeking on its citizens (Mullikin and Rahman, 2010). It probably is that the ethical concerns stems from the authorities intercepting communication in the private domain that should remain strictly between spouses and other communicators. Even so, it is better for people to have the authorities treat them unethically than lose their lives, as the ethical authorities may prove unable to deter an act of terror fearing lest there be unethicality in their actions. No one guarantees developers come to invent a viable alternative to the bulk collection of phone numbers. Before they do, even if they will, a deadly and economically detrimental attack can occur.
The Strength, Validity, Reliability, and Bias of Sources
A rich numerical backing of major economic trends in the post-revelation period is one of the key strengths of the source as much as the presentation of alternative viewpoints is. For all the negativity the leakage has caused creating critical economic troubles for the USA, the source authors knew better than to ignore the positivity, such as the unavoidability of American companies, which makes for a perfect evaluating multi-view comprehensive report worth employing. That researchers and analysts from New America’s Open Technology Institute are critical of the authorities’ surveillance initiative that had been in active use until 2013 and would have remained so but for the leakage show their independence from power institutions. If this critical, the research institution may represent forces like foreign companies. However, Institute’s Senior Policy Analyst Danielle Kehl (2015) assured that New America was a Washington-based nonpartisan and not-for-profit public policy institute aiming to address the next generation of problems faced by the global community and the USA. The Open Technology Institute is a program within New America promoting universal and affordable access to unrestricted and open communications network. Both public and decision-makers can benefit from objective and in-depth findings and research. The independence of the source arguably testifies to the lack of bias and data validity.
Copenhagen Consensus Center (n.d. b) referred to Daniel Linotte, the author of the report on terrorism as Dr. of Fribourg and Oxford Universities. Once adviser to governments in Caucasus and Balkans and the OSCE, Linotte majors in security, trade, and applied economics. Copenhagen Consensus Center (n.d. a) suggested that the center was a think tank promoting the most rational solutions to the biggest issues in the world and advising philanthropists and policymakers. Who work for the center are 100 economists from world’s prominent establishments, inclusive of Noble Laureates. The accolades and gravitas of the report author and the organization leave none doubting the credibility of its content. The report is also a rich source of numerical evidence. Although it does contain footnotes, it lacks the reference list that would direct researchers to the sources applied. Reliance on sources like the one produced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development speaks volumes for the veracity of information presented in the report.
Speaking of future research, while Committee on Responding to Section 5(d) (2015) is somewhat skeptical about there being the adequate substitution for the recently outlawed bulk system, there is a belief that new techniques of targeting in the future might improve the relevance of gathered intelligence. Experts may be able to develop and use the profiles of potentially relevant targets by means of other information sources. Automatic controls on the application of information gathered in bulk will probably enforce the protection of privacy. The streamlining and enriching of approaches to defining and deploying new targets quickly via streamlined approval procedures or automated processing may be able to improve the application of targeted collection at some point. Further development and research can be instrumental in designing the software thereby improving automated usage controls and increasing the efficiency of targeted collection. Automated controls may give new opportunities to make them more transparent. All that will be needed will be for the oversight bodies and public to be able to implement and describe controls and examine the software artifacts.
Though outlawed, the bulk collection of phone record may now be the best counterterrorism security decision. Rebranding the agency and giving wiretapping legal backing may help bring the bulk system, yet spying on industries and top-echelon politicians must be a taboo. Of course, there is the unethical breach of privacy rights, yet, for want of software replacement, the bulk system can be of great use now. No such act of terror like 9/11 has happened in part due to the presence of the communication interception system. Being efficient at its preventive function, it spares great monetary amounts. Further research into monitoring system to add it efficiency and transparency should be in the making, so that it will improve the domestic surveillance rallying public support behind it.
Bandyopadhyay, S., Sandler, T., and Younas, J. (2013). Foreign direct investment, aid, and terrorism. Oxford Economic Papers. doi: 10.1093/oep/gpt026
Bennett, G. (2010). Cross training for first responders. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. Taylor & Francis Group. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com.ua/books?id=QAZkCnlPvVcC&pg=PA129&dq=the+columbine+massacre+shooters+not+affiliated+with+terrorist+groups&hl=uk&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjptJ3pzKHKAhVC8XIKHZY_D8gQ6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&q=the%20columbine%20massacre%20shooters%20not%20affiliated%20with%20terrorist%20groups&f=false
Castro, D., and McQuinn, A. (2015, June). Beyond the USA freedom act: How U.S. surveillance still subverts U.S. competitiveness. Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. Retrieved from: http://www2.itif.org/2015-beyond-usa-freedom-act.pdf
Copenhagen Consensus Center. (n.d. a). Copenhagen Consensus Center. Copenhagen Consensus. Retrieved from: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/
Copenhagen Consensus Center. (n.d. b). Daniel Linotte. Copenhagen Consensus. Retrieved from: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/expert/daniel-linotte
Committee on Responding to Section 5(d) of Presidential Policy Directive 28: The Feasibility of Software to Provide Alternatives to Bulk Signals Intelligence Collection. (2015, January 15). Bulk collection of signals intelligence: Technical options. The National Academic Press. Retrieved from: http://www.nap.edu/download.php?record_id=19414
Kehl, D., Bankston, K., Greene, R., and Morgus, R. (2014, July). Surveillance costs: The NSA’s impact on the economy, internet freedom & cybersecurity. New America’s Open Technology Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.newamerica.org/downloads/Surveilance_Costs_Final.pdf
Kehl, D. (2015). Broadband Opportunity Council comments from New America’s Open Technology Institute. National Telecommunications & Information Administration. Retrieved from: https://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/new_americas_open_technology_institute_boc.pdf
Kelleher, M.J. (2004). Social problems in a free society. Myths, absurdities, and realities. The USA: University Press Inc. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com.ua/books?id=iex_WiCGxqwC&pg=PA10&dq=social+problem+is&hl=uk&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi2ytyJo6DKAhUlEHIKHWruCMIQ6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&q=social%20problem%20is&f=false
Linotte, D. (2007, February 25). Terrorism. Copenhagen, Denmark: The Consensus Centre. Retrieved from: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/linotte._terrorism.pdf
Medine, D., Brand, R., Cook, E.C., Dempsey, J., and Wald, P. (2015, January 29). Recommendations assessment report. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Retrieved from: https://www.pclob.gov/library/Recommendations_Assessment-Report.pdf
Mullikin, A., Rahman, S.M. (2010). The ethical dilemma of the USA government wiretapping. International Journal of Managing Information Technology, 2(4), 32-39. Retrieved from: http://airccse.org/journal/ijmit/papers/1110ijmit03.pdf
National Research Council of the National Academics. (2015). Bulk collection of signals intelligence: Technical options. National Academic Press. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com.ua/books?id=zXL2BwAAQBAJ&dq=NSA+spying+cost+U.S.+companies+%2435+billion&hl=uk&source=gbs_navlinks_s
Naylor, L.L., 1998. American culture. Myth and reality of a culture of diversity. The USA: Bergin & Garvey. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com.ua/books?id=M4wED757XhQC&pg=PA57&dq=mobility+and+freedom+as+American+social+values&hl=uk&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiGmI3KtqDKAhVKw3IKHUFqCF4Q6AEIKjAC#v=onepage&q=mobility%20and%20freedom%20as%20American%20social%20values&f=false
Rascoff, S.J. (2016). Harvard Law Review, 129(3). Quid Pro Books. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com.ua/books?id=PZRYCwAAQBAJ&pg=PT47&dq=NSA+spied+on+French+president+and+German+chancellor&hl=uk&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwig4ICJqqLKAhXplHIKHRsjD6AQ6AEIIDAB#v=onepage&q=NSA%20spied%20on%20French%20president%20and%20German%20chancellor&f=false
Rashke, R. (2015). The whistleblower’s dilemma. Snowden, Silkwood, and their quest for the truth. Open Road Media. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com.ua/books?id=eU7wCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT50&dq=NSA+has+direct+access+to+Google,+Facebook+and+Apple.&hl=uk&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjszPT295_KAhVofHIKHfzuCHMQ6AEILTAB#v=onepage&q=NSA%20has%20direct%20access%20to%20Google%2C%20Facebook%20and%20Apple.&f=false
Schwartz, S.J., Dunkel, C.S., and Waterman, A.S. (2009). Terrorism: An identity theory perspective. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 32, 537-559. DOI: 10.1080/10576100902888453
The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. (2013, December 12). Liberty and security in a changing world. The White House. Retrieved from: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2013-12-12_rg_final_report.pdf
The USA Freedom Act of 2015. Retrieved from: https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr2048/BILLS-114hr2048enr.pdf
Wright, D., and Kreissi, R. (2015). Surveillance in Europe. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com.ua/books?id=9amQBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA24&dq=NSA+spied+on+business+not+linked+to+terrorists&hl=uk&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjAmc2GqaLKAhVjwHIKHY2KDk8Q6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&q=NSA%20spied%20on%20business%20not%20linked%20to%20terrorists&f=false