Seven out of ten Americans have a unique passcode to lock their phones. The passcode protects personal information and interactions with others. It would defeat the purpose of having a passcode if people wanted someone they did not know to see their phone records. Americans recently learned that the National Security Agency has been requesting and receiving phone records from Verizon Wireless. NSA has been receiving records of more than one million Americans. We demand an answer from them: Why do they need these records?
This is another reason to demand transparency from our leaders. We can discuss the various scandals all we want, from Operation Fast and Furious that left American guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, to the cover-up of the events of consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya, to the more recent news of illegal phone taps of the Associated Press and the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, but some of those (if not, all) would be glossed over by the greater number of young people who voted for Obama.
As a young person, I recognize that a large portion of our lives is spent on our smart phones. Whether it is because we are busy or because it is convenient, many of us answer emails, update Facebook statuses, send tweets and share our lives through our cell phones. In fact, there is an increase in the number of people who do not even get home phone service anymore because they only sue their cell phones. And now, tens of thousands of us have had our phone records seized by the government? They claim they just look up where the calls were made, to whom, for how long, but does that not make you think they could be looking at more? Perhaps the apps you downloaded last month? The picture you sent to your boyfriend, girlfriend, mother or father? If you are reading this post on your phone, do they know you are reading it? Are they listening to your conversation right now?
This action is unacceptable, let alone downright illegal. Regardless of voting choices or political leanings, we can all agree that this is an invasion of privacy. The claim is that the records are being used for national security research. Let me ask you, have you honestly done anything to warrant the NSA to seize your records? Who would have thought that calling that new restaurant you visited “da bomb” would suddenly lead you to be targeted as a suspect? Tens of thousands of Americans are not doing anything that warrants the NSA from taking any of their phone records and playing this bizarre game with security where they think they will find the needle in the haystack by making the haystack bigger. We all must demand that this practice been ended immediately and that the government is held accountable for taking away our individual freedoms. The people of America must demand a more realistic answer from President Obama, who has claimed that many of the scandals mentioned above were situations that he was unaware of. Often, he gives us flat-out lies. We want transparent leadership in the White House. Either Obama has control over his administration’s actions or he does not. The youth of America would like to know so we can determine if he really is the right one to institute “change” in our great nation.
So, fellow young Americans, is this really the hope and change you wanted?