Cryptography is a science of communication specializing in insecure connection in the presence of a third party commonly referred to as adversaries. An adversary is an opponent, or a person who poses a lot of danger to others, according to the Oxford English dictionary. Cryptography is a protected communication science that uses special codes to encrypt the information and thereby make it unavailable to third parties. Presumably, the American government has several enemies, all of which will do anything to access some of the government databases (Oded, 2001). This is further compounded by the constant need for government agencies to share information over the conventional means of communication such as the internet.
Additionally, the government’s numerous enemies also use the standard means of communication, and the government develops an interest in obtaining some of their interactions. This led the government to form the National Security Agency; this is a unique state agency mandated with overseeing state communication and supervising all contacts in the country to avert threats to the country. The agency employs the best brains in communication technology and has some of the world’s best cryptographers. In addition to coding government information for contact over the open networks, the department is searching for other unusual American market codes. It breaks them in the pretext of vigilance and the country’s security.
On the other hand, ethics and morality refer to sets of behavior governing principles concerned with the right or wrong decision. Everyday activities present people with situations that require them to choose between right from wrong and kind from the bad. There is no universal standard of these, but somehow people will always know from others’ actions whether a decision was right or wrong. As a means of communicating for the people, the media presents several regulatory challenges, some of which are ethical. The advent of the internet further worsened these scenarios by submitting virtually everyone with the ability to communicate with others and even become mass communicators. The internet has no assigned gatekeepers or regulators—the user’s reserve these powers a feature that puts them in very precarious situations. The operations of the National Security Agency and other hackers further worsen the scenario deciding on wrong and right harder to make.
Ethics and morality are guidelines for conduct which minimize harm to others. By making an operative and acceptable choice between right and wrong or good and evil, a person secures other interests, thus preventing unnecessary damage to the other party. These understandings also put government agencies like the NSA in challenging circumstances (James, 2001). The agency searches and breaks millions of coded messages daily. After cutting the codes, the government official assesses them, and those found safe later communicated to their recipients as intended and in the original format. The naive receiver thinks the message is free, protected, and highly confidential, not realizing that officials in the government had the information before they got it. This presents a great dilemma in the government’s operations since the need to protect the people is equally important to their fundamental right of privacy vested in the bill of rights. The government safeguards the country and every citizen in it. The American Government does not encourage anyone to cause injury or death to innocent Americans for any ill intent. To keep this promise the government, the government breaks several ethical principles such as accessing people’s private and confidential information. Some codes that the agency usually deciphers turn out to be communication between drug barons and not necessarily terrorists. The decoding process was necessitated by the rampant terrorist attack threats in the country. The government uses such information to impound the drug barons. This results in a massive ethical concern in the use of the internet and information technologies.
Tracking drug peddlers and other petty offenders is a means of protecting the country and making it safer. However, does the need for a safe country supersedes the individual right to privacy. The right to privacy is a fundamental human right bestowed in the bill of rights. The law of rights further states that no one must be exposed to unreasonable searches without the approval of a state council, magistrate, or judge. Deciphering codes and accessing private information is a breach of such a provision, which is an open violation of fundamental human rights. This makes other users scared of the authenticity of the internet and the secure communication channels that are never safe.
The government keeps such operations of the NSA highly secretive, further raising ethical concerns. The force’s technology is unparalleled, and nobody can go through the numerous high-tech firewalls it uses. Therefore, it is safe to assert that government databases are secure and may never receive an intruder ever. It thus beats logic for the government still to use such uncivilized methods of communication monitoring in the country. This causes discomfort to the users of the internet. The service providers such as Yahoo mail and the Google mail are bearing the implications while bearing financial losses, constant reminders that the government operates secretly stalking, and breaching the privacy of the people it should protect (Oded, 2001).
The internet further promises increased anonymity. Though the use of such applications as Google maps could reveal an individual’s presence, the internet does not show the user of the computer or the place of use. This makes people say anything they feel like knowing that their safety and identity is guaranteed. Stalking people breaks such trust making the citizen live in more doubt about their safety. This has resulted in many security concerns from other ill-motivated people having advanced technology and may hack into government databases and reveal such information. Such an occurrence makes people more vulnerable than they were, thereby casting doubt on the government’s role.
People who decide to use codes to communicate messages that they could otherwise use the standard language do so because of the heightened need for confidentiality. Some of such people hire communication experts to package the information and send it over the network. They thus incur hefty costs to communicate the information that they eventually realize was never confidential. This is a betrayal to the people and means to financial loss since the costs incurred do not secure the data, thereby making the communicators vulnerable to the government (Bruce, 1996).
Following such information leaks, the government agencies organize raids on drug barons and other criminal activities, thereby making the country safer. Drug menace affects the economy, and jeopardizes strives that the government makes towards the restoration of peace in some of the notorious states in the country. Drugs are sources of mayhem and discord; they ruin the lives of millions of Americans and render some more incapable of meaningful employment. The government, therefore, owes the American population the safety that coincidentally the sale of drugs rubbishes. The government should do anything to ensure that it curbs the illegal trade and restore order in some states that business in the commodity has denied peace. The question of whether anything includes tapping private communications and deciphering communication codes is justification enough.
The government is autocratic over its operations and, in most cases, is never influenced by ethics and morality. It believes in safeguarding the nation’s security and will do all it takes without caring for the people’s thoughts and opinions. The only disadvantage of such a policy is that it gives more authority to the people who also advance their use of technology and become more creative. More people develop software that attempts to hack into government databases with the sole mandate of accessing the governed information. Some of this software is powerful enough to access other databases on the internet, which continues to make the internet a less secure place by the day. Most businesses extend to the internet with the introduction of plastic money and internet commerce. However, people continue to lose money on the internet as the intensity of cybercrime increases. Unfortunately, the software guarantees anonymity and the government does very little to protect the public in such scenarios.
- Bruce, S. (1996). Applied Cryptography, 2nd edition. New York: Wiley.
- James, G.(2001). Stealing Secrets, Telling Lies: How Spies and Codebreakers Helped Shape the Twentieth Century. Washington, D.C: Brassey’s.
- Oded, G. (2001). Foundations of Cryptography, Volume 1: Basic Tools. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.