Sample Management Paper on NSA PRISM Program

NSA PRISM Program

The NSA PRISM program has attracted lots of controversy in recent years. While some believe that PRISM is used for gathering information from corporations in America, others argue that it is solely used for the analysis of information collected from the companies. However, U.S. technology enterprises have objected to these assertions arguing that the program has no direct access to their servers. The firms assert that the program intercepts communication cables to gather information. These varied perspectives suggest that the controversy that shrouds the program revolves around its source of data, purpose, and the people’s perception of it.

PRISM’s source of data is the US technology companies that host a huge volume of public data. According to Stair & Reynolds (2018), the FBI and NSA use PRISM to gather private electronic information of online service users. Essentially, the program helps NSA to gain access to the servers of these technology companies and gather a range of private information (Khudayer, Abdulsalam, Alshaibani, & Ibrahim, 2014).The data is primarily obtained from leading technology firms such as Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Skype, YouTube, Microsoft, and Google, among others and includes email message contents, search history, photos and videos, transferred files, and live chat, among others. As Stair & Reynolds (2018) state, the program does not just go after metadata but also seeks actual communication content. As such, it can be described as a surveillance program that the US government, through NSA, uses to access private information hosted online. While the constitutionality of such access has been questioned time and again, establishment of the secretive FISA court has played a critical role in legalizing its use. It must however not be forgotten that, Edward Snowden in his expose highlighted that the program allow analyst to access online users data without any form of authorization.

How the company accesses the data remains controversial. According to leading newspapers, the Guardian and Washington, the companies in question were recruited by the US government to offer it direct access to the information (Lee, 2013; Greenwald & MacAskill, 2013). Nonetheless, the United States government has refuted that assertion. The government argues that information of this kind is only obtained upon authorization by the highly secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The affected companies hold the government’s position, and some even claim to be unaware of the PRISM program. Moreover, the government and spokespersons of the involved firms reiterate their commitment to upholding civil liberties (Lee, 2013; Greenwald & MacAskill, 2013). The government’s position on the matter indicate PRISM serves an important national security purpose, but it is not used to infringe on people’s privacy without due court’s authorization. This position is however widely disputed, more especially by activists that oppose the program in its entirety.

If asked to choose between surveillance and insecurity, I would choose surveillance. the program is essential to ensuring national security since it is used to track would-be terrorists. Such surveillance helps the American government to prevent terrorist attacks at their planning stage rather than react to attacks when damage has already been done. I believe that the sole purpose of the program is to prevent terror-related crimes that are often planned and executed in deep secrecy. As such, it reduces the high costs that would otherwise be incurred in dealing with consequences of terror attacks. Indeed, the secrecy around operations of the FISA courts is of concern as it begs the questions of whether secrecy cannot be used to cover-up unauthorized surveillance (Lundin, 2019). Nonetheless, it is also inconceivable that the NSA or FBI would track every person’s data or track each individual’s phone calls (Thompson, 2013). Even if the risk were real, the value of saving lives and property that it poses cannot be ignored. Besides, law abiding citizens should not worry about surveillance as it is meant to identify criminals.

Crime has become sophisticated as the world develops. Criminals, such as terrorists, have access to modern technology and are well funded and highly skilled; hence can operate without being detected by traditional law enforcement measures. The PRISM program offers security agencies a tool for preventing, rather than reacting to incidences of terrorism. Through this program, people that are likely to break the law can be tracked and appropriate measures be taken to prevent their intentions. The implication is that law-abiding citizens have little to worry concerning the program. It is my opinion that the program, although subject to abuse in some instances, deserves public support. Efforts can be placed to seal possible loopholes rather than oppose the program. The program, irrespective of the explanations and assurance that the agencies have offered, remains controversial.  It is a critical component of ensuring incidences of insecurity are curbed before they occur. In essence, it provides a platform for pro-active fight against crime. It is believed that each year, many terror plots have been thwarted, thanks to information collected using the program. It is no doubt a pillar to modern-day security in the ace of advance online communication.

 

References

Greenwald, G., & MacAskill, E. (2013, June 7). NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

Khudayer, A. Y., Abdulsalam, R. M., Alshaibani, S. M., & Ibrahim, J. B. (2014). Impact of NSA-PRISM to National Information Security. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Research, 4 (1), 25-31.

Lee, T. B. (2013, June 12). Here’s everything we know about PRISM to date. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/06/12/heres-everything-we-know-about-prism-to-date/

Lundin, L. (2019, July 7). SleuthSayers: Pam, Prism, and Poindexter. Retrieved from https://www.sleuthsayers.org/2013/07/pam-prism-and-poindexter.html

Stair, R. M., & Reynolds, G. W. (2018). Principles of information systems. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Thompson, L. (2013, June 10). Why NSA’s PRISM Program Makes Sense. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2013/06/07/why-nsas-prism-program-makes-sense/