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State of emergency: privacy, security and surveillance in modern-day U.S.A.


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Brizić, Arsen. (2017). State of emergency: privacy, security and surveillance in modern-day U.S.A.. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Šesnić, Jelena].

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The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects of surveillance on privacy and civil rights in the United States, and to provide an overview of the evolution of surveillance by focusing on legal changes in the field. The research covers a longer period, starting with the WWI and ending with the latest developments in the field of surveillance in 2015. The common objective in the analysis of all surveillance programs was to explore their legality and intended target. This paper first examines the surveillance of the African American community in WWI and argues that this group was targeted under false claims that it was influenced by German agents, while the real purpose was to silence the critique of the government. A similar notion is argued in the part on the FBI surveillance during the Cold War, where it is proven that the surveillance programs were misused to spy on journalists, civil rights activists and even the opposition. The FISA Act is then presented as a consequence of these violations and analyzed for its significance in future surveillance programs. The thesis then focuses on 9/11, an event defined as a national crisis and then further analyzed for the significant legislative changes it caused in the surveillance field. The impact of these changes is then examined in the part that focuses on the Snowden revelations. Before turning to an approach that provides ideas and theories on how to achieve balance between privacy and surveillance, the thesis looks into the use of terrorism for the justification of surveillance. In conclusion, the thesis argues that the history of surveillance in the U.S.A. is filled with government abuse and unconstitutional practice with complete disregard for privacy and civil liberties, which is proven by providing an analysis of surveillance acts along with the recorded abuses from that period. The thesis also shows that justifications used for surveillance were often false because in several cases the intended target turned out to be social groups that were not a security threat to the country, but were still targeted for being a voice of dissent, while in other cases it was done for economic interest.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: surveillance, privacy, national security, the United States, National Security Agency
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Šesnić, Jelena
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 13:43
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 13:43

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