Surveillance implications: Data doubles and Function creep

In spite of never having been convicted of any criminal law in Canada, a significant portion of the Canadian population have been or are currently listed in the country’s national criminal records. The RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) holds the name of over 400,000 individuals who have never been found guilty of a crime (Carlson, 2014). Such information is available as non-conviction records, which are routinely released in police background checks at the requests of interested parties. These parties can include potential employers, educational institutions, governmental agencies, volunteer organizations, border security and others who have a vested interest in specific individuals.

In the case of Diane, whose identity is being withheld for her protection, she was arrested based on the accusations form her former boyfriend. The charges were later dropped, but still continue to pose a threat to her professional life, as the traumatic incident still holds a place on her police record. Many similar situations are a reality to hundreds of Canadians in situations similar to Diane. Ultimately, those individuals have the potential to be negatively impacted or face unfavorable consequences and ramifications, which impacts both their personal and professional lives. The victims of these police disclosures and background checks have argued that this practice is in violation of constitutional rights laid forth by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, there are “no rules, no legislation” against this procedure despite many professionals and experts calling for a transformation in legislation to bring clarity and guidance to the issue (Carlson, 2014). It has also been argued that CPIC should be exclusively used as a database for identifying an individual’s history of criminal behaviors, thus requiring a conviction. Instead, police submit data, which are indicators of character, and make a presumption that the individual is either a threat to them self or the general public.

In cases comparable to Diane, Rick Perreault was denied a volunteer position for the Children’s Aid Society due to a false report involving disciplining his son by “lightly tapping” the boy on the knee. After explaining the incident to police officers, they decided not to criminally pursue the situation. Similarly, Anne had left to a woman’s shelter in an attempt to leave her abusive husband, who was charged and convicted of domestic abuse. Her husband, then falsely accused Anne of threatening him, which the claim was determined to be unfounded (Carlson, 2014).

The concepts of data doubles and function creeps make sense of the findings of the investigation by the Toronto Star. Due to this surveillance of the non-conviction record, Diane’s incident with the police “stabilized and captured according to pre-established classificatory criteria” (Haggerty & Ericson, 2006). She became labeled by her past assault charge, despite being proven innocent and not convicted, ultimately leading to adverse effect on her professional life when her job was at risk.

With regards to the concept of a function creep, Carlson adds that a RCMP representative stated that “national Canadian criminal database includes information on charges, warrants, persons of interest, stolen property, vehicles, criminal records as well as critical public and officer safety information” (Carlson, 2014). Function creeps are legislation, which are justified for a specific purpose, but the legal restrictions are loosened, and new uses for that legislation, which were not originally planned, or even existing are found. This concept of function creeps operates opportunistically and is likely to be unanticipated, while often being difficult to convey to the public. Using the definition put forth by the spokesperson for the RCMP, it is apparent that by “disclosing [information] to prospective employers, governments or volunteer organizations undermines the lives of law-abiding Canadians”(Carlson, 2014) the national criminal database is being applied out of is original mandate, thus circulating significant debates throughout societies with the issue of privacy.


Carlson, J. (2014). 420,000 in police database never convicted: Analysis. Toronto Star.

Haggerty, K. D., & Ericson, R. V. (2006). The new politics of surveillance and visibility. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


1 Comment

Filed under Contributor Post

Data Doubles and Function Creep Within Police Databases

It has recently come to the attention of the Toronto Star that hundreds of thousand of people are listed within the RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) despite having no convictions or charges. Many of these people are people who have mental health issues. As of currently there is not legislation around the situation which leaves police to do as they please. Ann Cavoukin (Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner), states that new legislation is needed which directs the police on what information they are able to give to employers, volunteer organizations and governments. People who have not even committed a criminal offence are listed within CPIC and it affects their lives negatively.

People like Diane, has had her life affected negatively due to the CPIC. Regarding an incident where her spouse committed self-harm and falsely reported to the police that Diane attacked him, she was arrested and charged. After this incident, 11 months later the charges were withdrawn but Diane’s name remained in CPIC. Diane ran into problems with this when her workplace required a “vulnerable sector police check.” Of course within this check the incident that had taken place even though the charges were withdrawn had come up. Diane eventually removed the charge within CPIC only after multiple appeals. CPIC should be used for containing criminal records only of those charged and convicted in order to keep track of people with an actual criminal record. Police may argue that it is used for safety of the person, community and just to keep track of the individual. But due to the fact that people’s lives are being affected by this negatively, the names of those not charged should not remain stored.

The terms “data double and “function creep” help us make sense of the results of the Toronto Star investigation. These terms, discussed by Ericson and Haggerty are as follows: data double is defined as “our vital/informational profiles that circulate in various computers and contexts of practical application.” Function creep is defined as “the gradual widening of the use of a technology or system beyond the purpose for which it was originally intended.” This term applies directly, the police are using CPIC, beyond what it is supposed to do. It is just supposed to carry the names of people who have a criminal record, but instead the police are using it to carry the names of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, who have not even been charged or convicted. Yet these names remain within CPIC, and are affecting lives when this should not be happening within the first place. New legislation is indeed needed in order to protect Canadians from harm which is caused by CPIC.


Haggerty, K. D., & Ericson, R. V. (2006). The New Politics of Surveillance and Visibility. In R. V. Ericson & K. D. Haggerty (Eds.), The new politics of surveillance and visibility (pp. 3–25). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Carlson, J. (2014, May 24). 420,000 in police database never convicted: Analysis. Toronto Star. Retrieved from:

1 Comment

Filed under Contributor Post

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear

We truly do live under a constant state of surveillance. In this day and age, it is impossible to make it more than a few blocks without being caught on multiple Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Cameras. As an active Security Guard and Dispatcher, I have experience many sides of the surveillance world in Vancouver’s Downtown core. However, how much surveillance is too much surveillance? Where do we draw the line between security and privacy?

The job of a security guard is typically described as “observe and report,” and essentially, that is all there really is to the job. Security contract sites can house hundreds of cameras operational at the fingertips of one or multiple security professionals. These cameras trend from a simple, low resolution, black and white, non-moveable camera through to cameras with 360° viewing with a resolution capable of zooming in and reading a newspaper from over a football field’s distance away. With all this in mind, the general public does tend to make outrageous assumptions about possible invasions of privacy when details such as this are made public. Truth is however, technology, as good as it is, has its faults. For example, cameras with such an impeccable zoom capability, such as the camera described above, are usually placed in locations that may utilize such capabilities. These locations would include large open spaces with major foot traffic. Usually, cameras covering such large spaces are zoomed out as far as possible in order to capture the largest possible view of the space in question. Unless an individual arouses significant suspicion or is in the process of carrying out a crime that security has caught on to, these cameras are never utilized to their full capabilities. Once a recording has been captured, its picture quality is stagnant resulting in poor quality if a zoom is required on the recording. All in all, however obvious something may seem to us despite its poor quality after zooming, such video would never be accepted to stand up in court. Additionally, if a camera is zoomed out to cover a significant expanse of an area, unless the incident occurs directly in front of the camera, the recorded objects in question will also be too small and far less to detailed to be considered sufficient evidence within a court of law. In conclusion of camera quality, there is a significant tendency for people to forget just how reliable these resources are. When push comes to shove in the conviction of an individual, camera footage as evidence is more than likely to fail its ultimate test. Thus, making such “amazing” camera equipment only suitable for security-like “observe and report” cases, and not as legitimate evidence to be held up in court. Keep in mind however; it all comes down to the interpretations of a judge and jury.

Now that this myth has been somewhat quashed, we can visit the question: how much surveillance is too much surveillance? Coming from relevant security experience, I can safely say it is not a stretch of the imagination to say that an individual minding his own business, walking along a downtown street, can be watched carefully from one corner of a site to another with an expanse of several city blocks. Now imagine how many security sites exist throughout an entire city like Vancouver. What would happen to our view of privacy if one source, like the police, had direct access to live feeds and/or the recordings from all these sites combined? State of Surveillance (2014) thinks this type of environment could be just around the corner stating that police may eventually be able to track our moves, all day, everyday, without any warrants necessary. Would you consider this an invasion or your privacy or a form of spying? Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

Section 8

            Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure

Evidence in relation to Section 8 may be in violation of our basic rights assuming that such surveillance from a localized source constituted an unreasonable search. Additionally, the Privacy Act provides us with “a right of access to information held about [us] by the federal government…” This could be used in the argument that such mass surveillance may have to be accessible to the public if it involves them. All in all, how secure is the storage of such surveillance? And who is going to be capable of seeing it?

In conclusion, such mass surveillance may help in lowering crime and convicting offenders. However, the unreliability of the quality of cameras cannot be overstated. With this in mind, the institution of a mass surveillance source to be used by the state/police could result in more cases being overturned due to Charter violations of unreasonable searches. Is such mass surveillance worth the possible risks and rewards in Canadian law? I guess if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.


State of Surveillance: Police, Privacy and Technology

1 Comment

Filed under Contributor Post

What is an Ideal Privacy Law?

There are a number of laws in Canada that relate to privacy rights and various organizations are responsible for overseeing that there is compliance with said laws. The Privacy Act, covers personal information-handling practices of federal government departments and agencies while the Personal Information Protecting and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) sets ground rules for how private sector organizations may collect, use or disclose information in the course of various commercial activities.

As discussed in class, we face various forms of defense against loss of private information. An example of this comes from simply logging into our MyKwantlen account on the internet. Our grades and such are protected with our very own unique password and student number that only we should know. When checking the mail, we have strayed away from having mailboxes outside our house to having a united mailbox down the street that requires a unique key that will open our box and no one else’s. When we check out email, open our phones, log onto our computers, we are always typing in various passcodes and numbers to ensure that only we can access the information in said equipment.

Privacy law in Canada has evolved into becoming what it is today. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1982 highlighted that everyone had the right to life, liberty, and security as well as the right to be free of unreasonable search or seizure. Although this did not directly mention privacy, it is clear that the Canadian government did not want the private matters of Canadians to be infringed upon by those with power. In the early 2000’s various privacy restrictions were created through legislation that prevented the use and disclosure of information by provincial and territorial governments and companies in the private sector.

The Access to Information Act and Freedom of Information Act provided citizens with the right to access information under the control of governmental institutions and made said institutions more accountable to the public and also protected individual privacy by giving the public right of access to records.

An ideal privacy law is one which protects information while making it accessible only to those who are given permission to access it. As with the Access to Information Act and the Freedom of Information Act, we are given the right to information that we are entitled to view. With an ideal privacy law, only those who the information belongs to should be able to denote who accesses the information. In particular cases, the government should be able to have access to information provided it is needed in order to maintain safety in the community. For example, if an act of terror is committed, the government should have access to the information of the offenders in order to help maintain a just society. An ideal privacy law has no limits and no fine print.

As discussed in the Star article, the national Canadian criminal database includes “information on charges, warrants, persons of interest, stolen property, vehicles, criminal records as well as critical public and officer safety information.” Also included are character indicators which police fill out when they feel an individual is capable of committing a violent act. The information collected allows police officers to be aware of individuals that me be a risk to themselves as well as others and assists the police in determining what type of response is needed relative to the individual.

As discussed in the Star article, although this information is stored and kept private, “disclosing it to prospective employers, governments or volunteer organizations undermines the lives of law-abiding citizens.” The information is taken as a precautionary measure; however, the individual whom the information belongs to is never told that this information is kept about them. These precautionary measures are what void Canada’s privacy laws. If those with the power and authority to do so can take and contain our confidential information, how is it fair to say that we are being given a fair right to life, liberty, and security? An ideal privacy would not only apply to the citizens of Canada but the government and authoritative figures of Canada as well. This simple rule is what prevents privacy laws today from being ideal. There is always a special clause that allows one party special rights over another; however, until this clause is removed, there may not be such thing as an IDEAL law.

Cribb, R., Rankin, J., & Bailey, A. (n.d.). 420,000 in police database never convicted: Analysis. The Toronto     Star. Retrieved November 27, 2014, from The Toronto Star:    ed_analysis.html
Haggerty, K. D., & Ericson, R. V. (2006). The New Politics of Surveillance and Visibility. Toronto: University     of Toronto Press.
Larsen, M. (2014, November 25). Law, Society, and Privacy in an Era of Mass Surveillance. Crim 3305 Law     and Society . Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Richards, N. M. (2013). The Dangers of Surveillance. Harvard Law Review , 26 (934), 934-965.

1 Comment

Filed under Contributor Post

The Surveillance Effect: How Data doubles destroy lives

To suggest that even you might show up in the RCMP’s police database might surprise us Canadians.  After all, what could they possibly know? You are more than aware that you have had no convictions in your lifetime and that those people that do most likely deserve it. However, we begin to ask ourselves what do they know about you? Do they have information on you from a past police investigation? Were you questioned about a particular friend or loved one who committed a crime? Or perhaps the police have an unproven allegation against you but they just couldn’t find the evidence and you’ve heard nothing since. Furthermore, maybe your neighbors reported you to the police because they felt you were having suicidal tendencies when you were just having a really bad year. It might be scary to suggest that even though you haven’t committed a crime or an indecent act that these kinds of things you’d have liked to keep private are all available in a national database.

It is now known that more than 420,000 people were listed in the RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database while having no conviction in 2005 (Carlson, 2004). This may strike us as alarming considering this number has most likely grown due to the more modern advances in technology, especially as we approach 2015. A Toronto Star analysis revealed that many of the people listed are for mental health issues. Nearly 2,500 people with no conviction registered for attempted suicide and 2,200 people were registered as having a mental instability with no conviction (Carlson, 24).

      In the case of Diane, whose full name is being withheld to protect her from possible retribution, she is one of more than 200 Canadians who came forward to say that their personal or professional lives have been ruined by police check disclosures. This is unsettling since she has never broken the law and has remained a superb citizen working with vulnerable people as a counselor in Toronto (Carlson, 2004).She went through a rather traumatic experience when she ended her relationship with her spouse five years ago. In retaliation her spouse had scratched his legs, arms and neck and then contacted the police to report that she had assaulted him.  She was arrested and charged based on the physical marks on her ex, however, the charges were withdrawn 11 months later (Carlson, 2004).

After completing her education at George Brown College, Diane was working as a counselor in Toronto in October 2012 when she was instructed to provide a vulnerable sector police check. It was required for those working with vulnerable people as it was a condition of her employment (Carlson, 2004). To her dismay it was founded that her withdrawn assault charge involving her ex-spouse was there. As indicated by Diane she exclaimed, “It took many hours of anguish to finally convince the police department that I was not actually a threat to society and that my employment hinged on the fact that I had a clear record” (Carlson, 2004).  What is clear here is that simply having a negative representation in the system whether it’s a police or national database is that it can have a real live effect on a person even though they may have not actually violated the law. Diane had to put forth her own appeal to keep her job. This can be a traumatic for many of us who rely on our jobs especially when those without much financial security in this day and age need income desperately to survive.

As technology begins to advance we are now becoming more and more aware of situations like that of Diane. Once we are in the system it is likely that we shall remain there as it gives institutions such as the RCMP greater power over us. This power that i’m referring to is that of knowledge. Police forces such as the RCMP in Canada kept note of Diane’s prior withdrawn assault charge for a reason. That information could easily have been used against her and would have given police efforts an easier time to determine how to deal with Diane had another altercation of assault occurred. It easily could have been used as evidence in trial. When we look at Haggerty’s and Ericson’s work, The Surveillant assemblage, they reiterate that we’re witnessing the formation of a new type of body which transcends human characteristics and reduces our flesh to pure information ” (D. Haggerty and R.V. Ericson, 613).  This new type of body that Haggerty and Ericson are referring to is a data double.

Rather than being an accurate portrayal of a real individual, our data double will most likely tell a different story, one that we would not like for many to hear. They contain our greatest secrets, latest gossip, as well as past altercations we have had with the law and many other important realms in society. They are indeed useful as they allow institutions to make discrimination’s among populations, but they come at a great price( D. Haggerty and R.V. Ericson, 614).  When we look at Diane’s data double we know that she had a past assault charge and since she was working as a counselor who served many kinds of vulnerable people it would’ve been unwise to let her continue that position. However, the charge was dropped and false as indicated by Diane, yet it still remained in the system labeling her and restricting her job opportunities. If Diane had not taken action to appeal against her past allegations her job would have been stripped from her. We can see how troublesome this is as not breaking the law can still have its consequences for being in the system.

One of the biggest debates going on throughout our societies today concerns privacy issues. We are becoming more aware that the gradual widening of the use of technology has sparked new controversies especially when it comes to privacy concerns. Function Creep is a useful concept which illustrates that technology and systems such as the RCMP’s database have gone beyond the purpose for which it was originally intended. In the case of the RCMP the information that Diane had been charged with went beyond it’s initial purpose and soon labeled her. Her own data double almost stripped her of her job five years after  the original charge was dropped. It not only caused Diane great stress to prove her case that she was a law abiding citizen but furthermore resulted in the invasion of her privacy.

        When we examine George Orwell’s groundbreaking book, 1984, we wonder if we’re only just a few steps away from becoming a society which prioritizes surveillance over the comfort of its own citizens. In the UK, surveillance has already reached a new level. We begin to wonder if this is this just the beginning and if we are heading into a direction where the idea of Big brother may soon materialize. Criminal lawyers are now arguing cases on disclosure of non-conviction records. In Diane’s case the police were free to do what they wished regarding her withdrawn assault charge since there were no rules and no legislation that restricted the RCMP’s use of it’s records (Carlson, 2004). What is perhaps the scariest thing to consider is that this is only one Database system within Canada. Surveillance efforts will continue to evolve since the threat of global terrorism and 911. I hope that some day our privacy will soon be seen as something more important than global surveillance as i feel it is dehumanizing and unnatural. We are heading into a direction that i would like to think is not beneficial for all societies.

Carlson, J. (2014, May 24). 420,000 in police database never convicted: Analysis. Toronto Star. Retrieved from:

Haggerty, K. D., & Ericson, R. V. (2000). The surveillant assemblage. British Journal of Sociology, 51(4), 605-622.

1 Comment

Filed under Contributor Post

Data Double: Implications of the Digital Trail

Since personal information is out there because of our daily activities this creates an electronic copy of what we do, what we enjoy, where we work, live, visit etc., which is essentially known as our data double. “Data doubles travel in and out of numerous centers of calculation and serve as markers for access to resources, services, and power” (Haggerty & Ericson, 2000). When referring to the “numerous center’s” as stated by Haggerty & Ericson (2000), this includes things like statistical institutions, police stations, financial institutions, and corporate and military head quarters. Institutions that will gain whether in profit, or control when they have access to any individual’s personal information and data doubles. This allows for it to be easier for information that is personal to be distributed to other places without the individual knowing. Such as how if a person is to log on to facebook, facebook is allowed to use that individuals information and provide it to larger corporations so that marketing is tailored to each individuals preferences. The issue is that many people are not aware that their personal information is being passed along, since many do not read the fine print, nor assume that there is the possibility that their entire digital trail will be in the possession of others. “The growth of surveillance is linked to enhanced possibilities for large-scale storage and processing of personal data as a result of the ‘voluntarily’ given consumer data, or as Davies noted, an ‘illusion of voluntariness.” (Ragnedda, 2011). As stated by Ragnedda, (2011) the 2 most interested institutions that want to collect information would be government authorities, and the second would be private corporations. However, they both have different reasons for wanting “data double”, and collecting that information. For Government agencies it is for controlling citizens, preventing or punishing crimes, while for corporations it to target customers with specific advertising that is personalized for each individual according to their personal data.

When I take a look back at the one-week snapshot of my data double it allows for me to see the potential information that is out there about me after one week of interactions, log in’s, and purchases. In the past week I have signed into my Kwantlen account, as well my Langara student site, I have used my visa, and my debit card in many locations and many different transactions. I have used loyalty cards at 2 different stores, one being Save on foods, and the other being a gas station. In the past week I have also ordered pizza, at pizza hut, which I did so by ordering online. Which I realize after listening to the link in class, that the site has a lot of my information memorized, including what my usual orders are, although this is minor in the scheme of things, it still allows for your past history to be on file which allows for companies to make offers that highlight your past purchases.. Every day things that I have never thought about, now make me wonder what information I am putting out there about my self, such as when I logged on to my Facebook, and Instagram accounts this week, did I inadvertently put out personal information that allowed for me to become a target to certain organizations? I also visited Amazon, where I do have an account, I noticed after that amazon now sends countless emails to my account with suggestions for things that I might prefer, based on past things I have purchased. Some of these various examples in the past week not only have my home address, phone number, history of preferences, but some go even deeper and specify the amount of times I do specific things or what I buy at what times, and much more. All this information can potentially lead to disastrous results if it ever came into the hands of someone with intent to do harm. “Since 2006 the value and vulnerability of personal information has become increasingly apparent with high profile information security breaches.” (ICO, 2010).

The information in my data double for the past week could allow few snapshots of my week, not for major companies, and the Government to survey personal information, but it also takes into account how privacy now days can easily be overlooked when simply clicking a few buttons. On a daily basis the information we put out there, is not only accessible to the company your providing the information to, there are times when that information can be passed along to other agencies as well. Since technology is always at an advancing state, this can lead to public information being passed to others sources much easier, as well as making it possible for people of authority such as the government to keep better track of individuals. Another implication of Data Double, is that there is always the possibility that if another individual were to get a hold of your credit card for example, and purchase something illegal then the purchase of that illegal item may fall on the owner of the credit card. This can also be applied to any other ways data double may be used in identity theft. Another implication could be that if the data double from your past has history of things such as, gambling, or certain addictions it may target you to those major corporations which will in turn make it harder for a person gambling to stay away from temptation.


Haggerty, K. D., Ericson, R.V (2000). The Surveillant Assemblage. British Journal of Sociology. 51(4), 605-622.

Information Commissioner’s Office. (2010). Information Commissioner’s Report to Parliament on the State of Surveillance. Retrieved from,

Ranedda, M. (2011). Social Control and Surveillance in the Society of Consumers. Retrieved from,

1 Comment

Filed under Contributor Post

State Surveillance: Munk Debate

The Munk Debate on “State Surveillance” was arguing whether the state should be able to turn to large-scale state surveillance of monitoring information from outside threats or was this “state surveillance” a legitimate defence to infringe our freedom as human beings. Parties that were “Pro” state surveillance were arguing that the threats of terrorism continue to happen and we as a country should be prepared. Their main argument is that the state should be able to monitor and access people’s private information for the benefit of the state and to protect the state. On the other hand, the “Con” argues that this is an excuse for the government to infringe our rights.

The Pro side is representing the government. Since the government is not very trusted with the general public, this can be a huge concern for many individuals. The government continues to be deceptive with its citizens and may consider us as “terrorists” until we have proved ourselves as innocent citizens. Organizations such as the National Security Agency (NSA) are for state surveillance. Their main mission is for global monitoring, collection, decoding, translation and analysis of information and data for foreign intelligence and counter intelligence. Not only that but NSA also help protect the U.S. government communications and information systems against dissemination and network warfare. The objective of state surveillance is to monitor and protect its citizens even though they may be infringing privacy rights of many citizens.

The Con states that millions of innocent people who have done nothing wrong or pose no threat continue to be monitored. It was said that millions of people that are guilty of nothing continue to have their communications monitored and surveilled. They also mentioned that there was a document presented by the National Security Agency (NSA) at a conference called “Signals Development Conference”. The document was entitled “New Collection Posture” and it stated collect it all, sniff it all, know it all, process it all, and exploit it all. We are in serious trouble of sacrificing to the state surveillance and exaggerated acts of terrorism and civil liberties that guarantee citizens’ basic freedoms. This is a control mechanism that the state places on its civilians to control their communication and movements.

State surveillance can either be a really good thing or a really bad thing. Since state surveillance is significantly worried about acts of terrorism, this can help prevent acts of terrorism from occurring within our own civilians. This would require its civilians to sacrifice its basic freedoms over to the state. Organizations like the National Security Agency (NSA) sometimes invade the privacy of its own citizens and are making them possible suspects (Munk Debate, 2014). This can also be a bad thing because allowing state surveillance; this can potentially target individuals or groups that are falsely accused of acts of terrorism. Furthermore, this could disrupt the trust civilians have in the government and can even cause chaos within the country. Since civilians already have a hard time trusting government officials, it would not be a great idea if they monitored individuals without reason. The surveillance state already exists and it is a threat to our rights to be free and private. This allows the government with more power over its people and can therefore monitor innocent people without any reason. Using terrorism as a loophole into invading peoples’ privacy without proof shows how much power government officials really have and how much power citizen’s lack. An argument made by the Con stated that Edward Snodwen for many months, had downloaded sensitive documents and the NSA had no idea that this was happening. The NSA still does not know what Edward Snodwen had taken and how much he had taken (Munk Debate, 2014). This point illustrates how the government can abuse its power and cannot be trusted when it comes to monitoring our documents, communication, and even movements.

In conclusion, government officials have proven in history and many incidents today that they cannot be trusted. By invading and targeting innocent people without any proof or reason shows how the government abuses its power and treats its civilians. Privacy is a big issue for many people. Being watched and monitored for no reason infringes on human freedoms and shows how little power civilians really have and how much control the government has over its people.

Larsen, M. (2014, November 25). Law, Society, and Privacy in an Era of Mass Surveillance. Crim 3305 Law     and Society . Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

CBC. (2014, May 8). State Surveillance: The Munk Debate. Retrieved November 27, 2014, from

Munk Debate. (2014, May). State Surveillance: Munk Debate.

1 Comment

Filed under Contributor Post