NSA Metadata Collection Concerns American Citizens

800pressreleaseConsumer phone records and Internet usage are being collected daily by the National Security Agency, according to recent reports, and consumers are growing increasingly concerned about privacy. The uproar began when Edward Snowden, a former CIA technical contractor, shared top-secret materials with The Guardian and The Washington Post. Those materials indicated the U.S. government had been spying on citizens throughout the country under a program called PRISM.

According to the staff at 800PressRelease.com, Snowden, who was fired from his role with government contracting firm Booz Allen, leaked news to the press out of concern for the “surveillance state” he felt America was becoming. The two NSA programs were instituted as part of legislation enacted after the events of September 11, 2001, Snowden said.

One part of the program involved hacking into computer networks around the world. Snowden stated there were 61,000 intended targets of the NSA, including computers in China, whom the Obama administration recently accused of hacking into U.S. computers. China recently countered U.S. concerns about hacking attempts from America by stating U.S. had tried to hack into its computers in the past. If Snowden’s claims are true, they might validate that accusation from the Chinese government.

In the wake of Snowden’s leaks came news from The Guardian that Verizon is providing phone records to the NSA under a court order that was issued in April, 800PressRelease.com has found. The Guardian claims to have a copy of the court order, which instructs Verizon to hand over all phone records that originate in the U.S, whether those calls are to another American resident or to someone who resides in another country.

These reports have consumers concerned about whether or not additional online communications are being infiltrated by the government. Acknowledging these concerns, a Google spokesperson stated the company uses simpler technology when given a court order to hand over information to the Federal government. Instead of opening up its servers to officials, Google insists it either sends the information via FTP transfer or delivers the requested information in person.

Google wasn’t the only technology provider rushing to allay concerns of its users. Facebook and Microsoft both spoke out to deny providing direct server access to government officials. Still, The Post cited unnamed Silicon Valley-based technology companies who confirmed having heard of the NSA initiative. However, experts point out that while many tech companies may want to speak out on the issue, those who are involved in the NSA program would likely be unable to say so due to the secrecy of the program.

For the majority of citizens, their day-to-day computer usage and phone call information won’t be of concern to the government. The NSA is looking for information that could be of concern to the security of the U.S. Still, any privacy violation is of concern to the average consumer, who assumes that living in the U.S. provides a certain level of freedom…but does that freedom include guaranteed privacy?

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