Author Archives: Insight, Opinions, Me...


There is nothing in the universe that is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s no secret that the NSA has made numerous infractions. Gellman states that most of the infractions and rule breaking are involved in unauthorized surveillance of Americans in the United States.  It was reported that in May of 2012, over 2,000 incidents were recorded where information was collected, access and stored that was unauthorized. Although it may not be on purpose and be accidental, it needs to be regulated because this is can lead to an abuse of power and to a world without confidentiality. If there is a will, there is a way. That should be the motto of the NSA because there are many jurisdictions involving privacy and they somehow manage to get around it every time.

The most famous “infraction,” you can say, is when Edward Snowden leaked NSA documentation. It was a major scandal because he did what no one has ever done. Edward Snowden was an employee of the NSA who took classified documentation of surveillance programs in effect by the NSA. He saved all this information onto several computers. He then booked a flight to Hong Kong where he had strategically “dropped a bombshell” of all the information collected by the NSA,which consisted of records of phone calls and emails sent from American citizens.

It also consisted of information of surveillance of international officials as well. Eric Griffith stated that Snowden has documentation of surveillance programs centered on the Internet, which would diminish the privacy of computers, the Web, and smartphones. Snowden now faces many felonious charges in the United States but he has been granted asylum in Russia to avoid these charges.


4 Reasons Why Privacy Does not Exist with Evolving Technology

  1. GPS
  2. Remote Hacking
  3. Government (NSA)
  4. Abuse of Power

Many infractions by the NSA go on unknown to many citizens, in which, they actually end up surveilling citizens continuously and this a law broken because it is a direct violation of the fourth amendment. The fourth amendment prevents any unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause and a search warrant issued by a judge.

Beta Introduction

My computer is my life. It has all my schoolwork, all my pictures, and all my personal documents. I have the laptop that most college students have, a MacBook. My computer may be the same as almost every other person around me but there is one thing that makes it unique. I have a piece of black tape over my webcam. It is the one thing that many of my peers comment on. “Why do you have that tape there?” “Is someone spying on you?” In truth, yes, there might be someone spying on me. That person can be anyone. It could be a simple hacker or the NSA (government).

One day I asked my cousin to use her computer to complete an assignment. I noted that she had a sticky note over her webcam. Like my peers, I asked “ Hey Huma, why do you have a sticky note over your webcam?” She told me, and this could have been very exaggerated, that the government is tracking my every move, so much so, that they can hack into my computer and see what I am doing through my camera. She told me that three years ago and ever since then I had this paranoia that I was being watched.

It was true. Not as intense or scary as before, I knew that privacy did not exist, as there was more technology in the world that allowed access into my private life. A primary example of this invasion is the National Security Agency (NSA) and their collection of metadata. David Cole, the author of Privacy 2.0: Surveillance in the Digital State, defines metadata, as the obtaining of records but not their content explicitly. The main example was a phone call in which the NSA knew the callers IDs, the duration of the call, and the location but not the conversation between both callers.


The idea that will help me establish my argument is the use of third party companies by the government for the use of surveillance software such as Gamma in which Chris Soghoian says that governments use this companies software because they don’t have the in-house resources to do it on their own. This helps because there are certain laws set in the U.S. that prevents the government from invading our privacy such as the fourth amendment. This allows the government to indirectly obtain records from its citizens through their cellphone, telephone, and computer.

Google Search Like A Pro Nugget Post

Gellman, B. (2013, August 15). NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds. The Washington Post. Retrieved from:


“Some Obama administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have defended Alexander with assertions that the agency’s internal definition of “data” does not cover “metadata” such as the trillions of American call records that the NSA is now known to have collected and stored since 2006. Those records include the telephone numbers of the parties and the times and durations of conversations, among other details, but not their content or the names of callers.” –B. Gellman


“Defenders of the new surveillance insist that the NSA’s domestic-surveillance program is appropriately limited because the government merely collects metadata, not the content of calls. But “metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life,” as Stewart Baker, former general counsel of the NSA, has acknowledged. “If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.” For example, the metadata can reveal whether a person called a rape-crisis center, a suicide or drug-treatment hotline, a bookie or a particular political organization. When I quoted Baker’s statement during a debate with the former director of the NSA, Gen. Michael Hayden, he readily concurred and even raised Baker one, bragging: “We kill people based on metadata.” – D. Cole



Gellman’s article presented a lot of numerical evidence that shows the number of “errors” or law breaking the NSA has committed. This quote spoke out to me because it reminded me of one of my previous articles where Cole talked about metadata. Metadata is basically data of call records of the time and location of the phone call and whom it was between but not the explicit content of the phone call. In Gellman’s article, he mentions that most of the rule breaking involved surveillance on American citizens which demonstrates that they are collecting more than metadata. Gellman looks at the numbers from the audits of the infractions and also states the constitutionality of each matter, in comparison to Cole who also looks at Supreme Court rulings on privacy in regards to the NSA. Gellman doesn’t make any argumentative claims in his article but rather show numbers that make the audience wonder what goes on in the NSA. Cole makes a claim that the government is tracking its citizens and that it needs to be stopped to an extent.


Google Like a Pro

Above is my search history, in there, you can see my attempt to “search like a pro.” I came across my final article titled,  The New Surveillance Discretion: Automated Suspicion, Big Data, and Policing.

Joh, Elizabeth E., The New Surveillance Discretion: Automated Suspicion, Big Data, and Policing (October 26, 2015). Harvard Law & Policy Review, __, 2015 Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Concept Experience 8

I enjoyed reading through my classmates’ comments. I was interested in what they saw as the climax. Many saw that when Justin mentioned that “A place for Marginalized Minds” was the climax, which was different as compared to mine where I chose the coining of the term “Slacktivitism” as the climax. Specifically, Laura Marie says … “ [Justin] speaks of how social media can have such a great impact around the world and also portrays the benefits of social media, also including a video and to close it off a personal reference, all this after shutting out the idea that social media shouldn’t be used for activism as a whole.” Laura is defending Justin in his opinion that online activism is just as effective as real life protests or stand-ins. Feminism is as controversial as the civil rights movement, in comparison, online activism is the as impacting as risk taking activism. Justin mentions that there is a statistic that those who advocate online have a more tendency to be physically present at an event than those who advocate in person.


  • Impact of social media on activism
  • “Slactivism”
  • Feminism
    • “online feminism”
  • Evolution of activism
  • Social media increases the spread of information and current events
  • More followers
    • More support in groups

The list above is my interpretation of Justin’s key concepts. His way of writing is very enticing because he writes in a more relatable voice without using confusing syntax and wording. The first thing Justin talks about is how he saw a lot of advocating on political issues such as feminism. Through out his article, he ties feminism into his argument. Slactivism is used through out this article. This term is used for people who are activist that do not advocate in person but through the Internet. His argument was explicitly stated that online activism impacts society as much as physical (in-person) activism. In this article, Justin talks about the impact of social media on activism, in which he found that more people who advocate online tend to be more active offline (in real-life) than those who are active offline. He saw that people are more involved online, through the use of social media where people or women can state their opinions and find supported who feel the same.

Feminism is a key topic tied into this article. Many of Justin’s examples relate to feminism. He mentions “Online feminism” where women are advocating for equality through blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. It was found that there were more followers gained through social media because there was more information spread throughout the Internet leading to the education of the population. Then there was a concept about how if there were more followers, there would be more support in groups. Feminist worked together in groups to make their platform apparent.

I didn’t lose any bit of interest throughout this article because it was so well written and relatable. Justin integrated a lot of evidence and examples in his article that kept his argument valid and gave it more depth. The sentence that spoke his voice the most is where he states that he was a feminist as well. It makes a statement that not only women can advocate for feminism and that men also support equality.

Video Research Nugget Post

Ted (Ted Talks) and Christopher Soghoian. March 5 2014. Christopher Soghoian: Governement Surveillance—This is just the Beginning. British Columbia, Canada: October 28, 2015.

Christopher Soghoian: Governement Surveillance—This is just the Beginning.

This video was determined as a reliable source through research of the producer, which is in this case, was TED. TED was well known for its “TED Talks,” which was actually what this video was. This video was actually uploaded on the verified official TED channel. Through these implications, this video was determined as a reliable source.

“There have now been over the last few years industries of companies who provide surveillance technology to governments specifically technology that allows those governments to hack into the computers of surveillance targets. Rather than intercepting the communications as they go over the wire, instead they now hack into your computer, enable your webcam, enable your microphone, and steal documents from your computer.”

This excerpt reminds me of an author is previously used, Brian Krebs . He used an example of this girl who noticed her computer battery was draining and when she got it fixed it was discovered that someone had used hacking software. That software allowed the use of the camera and microphone from remote locations. There used to be an indication of remote use when the light next to the camera would turn on but now it has become so extensive that hackers can turn on cameras without anyone knowing. These companies are way worse than that one hacker because no one is safe from invasion.

“Its important to note that most governments don’t have the in-house capabilities to develop this software. Smaller ones don’t have the resources or the expertise, and so there’s this market of Western companies who are happy to supply them with the tools and techniques for a price. Gamma is one of these companies.”


Gamma is a large-scale company that provides software only for the government to use for data collection and surveillance. This is an example of the government using a “loophole” because they aren’t directly obtaining information but rather using a third party to obtain information. In a previous post, Cole mentions companies such as Google that the government uses to obtain information. Although, Google does not sell surveillance software, both Gamma and Google allow the government one step closer to knowing more about everything that comes in and out of the country through technology.


In this TED Talk, Soghoian talks about a company known as Gamma. Gamma is company that has the software that allows the government to record data, enable webcams, and microphones from remote locations. Gamma only sells to governments. It is used worldwide. Countries that do not have their own sources to collect data mainly use it. This industry is $5 billion dollars meaning that there are many companies that sell surveillance to governments. Soghoian also stated that U.S. has the ability to collect data on their own rather than using another company to do it. He had looked into the FBI and found that there is a unit that worked into surveillance from remote locations.