Government Surveillance

August 30, 2013 • Volume 23, Issue 30
Is government spying on Americans excessive?
By Chuck McCutcheon

Introduction

Demonstrators protest against the sweeping U.S. electronic surveillance operations (Getty Images/Sean Gallup)
Demonstrators in Berlin, Germany, protest on July 27 against the sweeping U.S. electronic surveillance operations revealed in June by National Security Agency computer specialist Edward Snowden (shown on placard). Many Germans were outraged at reports that the super-secret spy agency had collected data on German citizens, including emails. (Getty Images/Sean Gallup)

How tightly the government should keep tabs on citizens has long been fiercely debated. But concern about surveillance intensified in June after National Security Agency computer specialist Edward Snowden revealed classified details of agency electronic snooping programs. Civil liberties advocates, lawmakers and others also have cited growing unease with other surveillance measures, including the use of unmanned “drone” aircraft and tiny video cameras. Congress, along with state and local governments, is expected to take up a variety of bills this fall to protect privacy and increase transparency about government activities. But the Obama administration maintains that internal safeguards — including a federal civil liberties oversight board created in 2004 — have prevented the federal government from becoming “Big Brother.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Privacy
Dec. 04, 2015  Privacy and the Internet
Oct. 25, 2013  Big Data and Privacy
Aug. 30, 2013  Government Surveillance
Jan. 25, 2013  Social Media Explosion
Sep. 17, 2010  Social Networking
Nov. 06, 2009  Online Privacy Updated
Nov. 17, 2006  Privacy in Peril
Jun. 15, 2001  Privacy Under Attack
Nov. 06, 1998  Internet Privacy
Nov. 19, 1993  Privacy in the Workplace
Apr. 17, 1992  Politicians and Privacy
Jan. 20, 1989  Your Right to Privacy
Mar. 21, 1986  Privacy in the Workplace
Oct. 18, 1974  Rights to Privacy
Apr. 05, 1967  Wiretapping and Bugging
Apr. 20, 1966  Protection of Privacy
Nov. 09, 1961  Wiretapping in Law Enforcement
Feb. 29, 1956  Surveillance of Spying
Jan. 25, 1956  Eavesdropping Controls
Mar. 14, 1949  Wire Tapping
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Civil Rights and Civil Liberty Issues
Computers and the Internet
Crime and Law Enforcement
Privacy
Terrorism and Counterterrorism