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Ethics of Wiretapping

In: Historical Events

Submitted By ariesx
Words 1118
Pages 5
Patrick Hughes

Philosophy 203 – Introduction to Ethics

August 7, 2015

ETHICS OF WIRETAPPING Since the First World War, government has been known to use private companies to wiretap phone lines for information. The legal structures, established by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), have defined a framework for legally securing a warrant for searches and tapping into phone lines of the American populace. Sometimes the government uses warrantless wiretapping without proper authorization and it exposes telecommunications companies to legal and financial ramifications. What I will argue in this paper is that warrantless wiretapping is unlawful and not ethical, as it harms citizens and violates their privacy. My position is that it is not violation of personal liberties and is immoral for the NSA to have access data when your average citizen is not a threat. Not completely following this law pertaining to wiretapping deviates from the natural check and balance system of the federal government. The failure to procure a warrant when wiretapping violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, and provokes media criticism. The National Security Administration (NSA) and other government agencies are required to wiretap only with the direct written authority of the FISA-assembled courts through a signed warrant. In rare cases, however, such as an imminent terror plot, against the government should it be allowed to intervene.

The law-abiding system of gathering warrants before wiretapping functioned well from 1978 until the 2000s, due in part to company policies that willingly followed the guidelines set by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). Letters to the FCC demonstrate that most companies have comprehensive systems to brief employees and establish company policies that uphold...

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