Friday, September 27, 2013

Extreme Facebook Stalking: NSA Employees at it Again

We've all been there...your aunt posts some pictures of her new dog, you start looking through the album from the party your friends had last night, and suddenly you find yourself going through the pictures in your ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend's brother's step-cousin's image gallery from three years ago. You know, a typical Sunday night. "Facebook Stalking" is a common term used in this age of media that describes going through someone's online profile with a bit more, shall we say, enthusiasm than might be completely acceptable. But then again, these profiles are, in fact, made for the public eye.

Recent allegations made towards the NSA are that its employees have been (shockingly) abusing their powers of surveillance to spy on people they know - namely, ex's, sexual partners, or loved ones. The article discusses employees using their surveillance clearings for personal use, meaning there are two issues at hand: 1) the violation of the privacy of individuals who are not a national security threat, and 2) the violation of the safety of the citizens who the NSA is supposed to be protecting by uncovering whatever useful information it is that the NSA uncovers.

While both issues are concerning, I personally think the second is more important. It is, of course, a very terrible thing to spy on people you know and these actions should be frowned upon for all people who look too deeply into the lives of others. But the employees of the NSA are employed, whether the nation at large agrees or not, to use investigative and surveillance techniques to protect the safety of the country. And every minute they spend trying to figure out if their husband is having an affair, while an important issue, is a minute they've spent not trying to figure out if there are any current threats towards the country - which is, surprisingly, also an important issue, and, more or less surprisingly - depending on how you feel about the NSA, is also what they're being paid to do.

So, yes. Facebook stalking is bad and even though we're not going to agree to do less of it, it should at least be a given that we should do less of it while we're at work to protect the country at our government paying jobs. Unless your ex-girlfriend is an anti-government terrorist conspiring to take down the country (hey, no judgment, it happens to the best of us), in which case: stalk away.

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