The U.S. Constitution in the Digital Age

thumb_topic_31098This is a companion post to the more extensive version on MyHillTop (an intranet platform at Worcester Academy). Students should consult the videos on MyHillTop detailing the history of Assange and Snowden, including interviews with both of these controversial figures.

This post is meant to facilitate the flow of discussion across classes and involvingIMG_0183 other faculty members (for example, Mr. Jason Epstein, the Academy’s CIO, visited my American Government class today and help lead us through an interesting discussion of the issues involved). In other words, I want to open it up by inviting students and faculty to discuss this topic here. This post is for a wider audience.

We are looking at the controversy re: national security versus the 1st and 4th Amendments. Are men like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden “whistle blowers”, “patriots,” “traitors”? Do the issues they raise about the power of agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA) point to problems so far from the world of the founders that they relegate the constitutional safeguards re: the abuse of power, obsolete? Or is the Constitution a “living document” that can and should be adapted to the realities of the digital age and post-9-11 America?

Essential Question: Do the constitutional safeguards still work in the digital age?

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Click here for Assange’s reaction to the movie the 5th Estate (click here)
There is another Hollywood moive coming out on this topic December, 2015:
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Background Information:

 
Alexander Hamilton founded the newspaper the New York Evening Post in 1801– he saw the role of the press as a form of checks and balances. Here is a quote from the article linked below on the role of the press:

The central role of information in American society harks back to a fundamental belief held by the framers of the U.S. Constitution: that a well-informed people is the strongest guardian of its own liberties. The framers embodied that assumption in the First Amendment to the Constitution, which provides in part that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.” A corollary to this clause is that the press functions as a watchdog over government actions and calls attention to official misdeeds and violations of individual rights.

See full article at: http://usa.usembassy.de/etexts/factover/ch12.htm
The 5th Estate? Julian Assange – Edward Snowden – James Risen; they claim that, in a digital age, tech savvy citizen-activists need to play the role that the press once did. The 4th Estate–a la Hamilton–cannot keep up; we need a 5th Estate!
 
What do folks think? What do you think of the ideas and actions of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden?
And, then ultimately, what do you think about our essential question:
Do the constitutional safeguards still work in the digital age?

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60 thoughts on “The U.S. Constitution in the Digital Age

  1. John Murnane says:

    Great subject, controversial and timely. My quick take is that our Constitution was ALWAYS open to interpretation which makes me a true “loose constructionist.” Ironically, most conservative, “strict constructionists,” favor the Patriot Acts, tighter border controls, and fewer First and Fourth Amendment concerns when national security is the issue. At times we have to trust our elected representative government, BUT we cannot have our heads in the sand when it comes to protecting our rights and freedom. This is an issue that changes with the times, national security issues gain in popularity when groups like ISIS threaten the U.S. etc., for example.

    This is a response I received from former Head of School and long-time Government teacher, Dexter Morse. Thank you Mr. Morse.

  2. Keith Reiter says:

    I believe that what Mr. Assange and Mr. Snowden were ultimately wrong. However I also believe that the people of America and the world should know exactly what the government is doing. Some good examples are the video of the American gunship shooting civilians who they thought were terrorists in Iraq. I also think that the Constitutional safeguards still work but they are easier to maneuver around but are also harder to cover up tracks because in the digital age everything is permanent and easy to communicate.

  3. Hannah malloy says:

    I think that Assange and Snowden were courageous in spreading WikiLeaks, but also somewhat blind. They were so worried about getting all the information out to the public, that I feel they didn’t give full thought to the response the world would have to the leaked info. Then on the other hand, that is info that the general public should be aware of. In one sense they were doing what should have been done all along, but on the other hand, they hurt a lot of people and corporations. I don’t think the constitutional safeguards still work in the digital age. I think this because with all sorts of new technology there are multiple ways that people can break the system. Which is exactly what Assange and Snowden did.

    1. Siobhan Herr says:

      I completely agree with this comment, Hannah. I think that Assange and Snowden did a bold thing by leaking information that was meant to be kept secret, but I think they took actions fast, without giving them much thought. They should’ve considered the repercussions of leaking top secret information much more carefully before they did with many documents. I don’t believe that it was fair of them to put so many innocent lives at risk by including their names in the documents that were posted, but I do feel that the public deserves to know anything that the government may know, unless it is an extremely sensitive topic.

  4. Jacqueline Gangi says:

    Julian Assange and Edward Snowden created a revolution within our digital age. I think that the ideas ands actions each took were beneficial for our society. Although their work was dangerous, it needed to be published in the media for people to know. Ultimately, what Assange and Snowden did was wrong, even though us as Americans and citizens of the world have the rights to know what was and is happening. I do not believe that constitutional safeguards in our era of the digital age work as well as they used to because of the actions and ideas Assange and Snowden have.

    1. Gwen Ream says:

      I agree with Jacqueline speaking about how their work was needed so our society could see the truth, although very unconstitutional and dangerous. However I disagree with her statement stating that the constitution does not safeguard our era of the digital age. I think our government needs to have very high security of what goes on in our world, after tragic events and terrorist attacks. They need to be able to investigate what is occurring in our world and I think the precautions they take with security is acceptable.

  5. timaryseguin19 says:

    The actions and ideas of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden were meant to inform the people of what the government was hiding. They thought that the people should know what was actually happening behind-the-scenes. Assange and Snowden thought the people deserved to know what was going on because they live in this world and they should not have things kept from them. I believe the constitutional safeguard does not work well in the digital age. Many devices are able to track the whereabouts of the holder of the device, for example iPhones are able to locate your location. Some people also use online accounts to access other people’s information, which could be used for bad intentions. The government is not able to control as much as they were able to when there weren’t so many digital devices.

    1. Sanchito12 says:

      I agree with your idea on how the constitutional safeguards don’t work well in the digital age. I believe they did work before the digital age. But how could people like Thomas Jefferson predict the advances in technology and create safeguards around them? So ultimately with advances in technology its easy to maneuver around the safeguards than before.

  6. abrickman48 says:

    Assange and Snowden had good intentions in bringing light to the shady areas of government. While I believe they wanted to show the world what is going on, it jeopardized the lives of many and at what cost? Letting people know the truth is important because we can’t turn a blind eye to the facts but putting peoples lives at risk is not the answer. This aspect of risking life was something that even the founders of WikiLeaks struggled with before releasing documents. To give a clear cut answer to whether I think there actions were good is extremely difficult and the only thing there is to really say is I guess we will find out in years down the road. I think the Constitution does not work as well as it was intended because the founding fathers didn’t plan for the Internet. Regardless what Assange and Snowden did was treason and goes against the constitution so I believe it does not work.

    1. andjela says:

      I agree, even though Assange and Snowden’s work was very dangerous, it was filled with good intentions. our world deserves to know the truth below the surface, and this is a very good way to project it to the entire world.

      1. savagep24 says:

        I also agree with abrickman48 and andjela, while Assange and Snowden did have good intentions there were bigger things at risk, and that was peoples safety and lives. Like abrickman48 said “at what cost?” The intentions were good but the risks weren’t. It would be good for the world to actually know what goes on though

  7. devinmcpaulster1700 says:

    I believe that the actions by Assange and Snowden are a threat to national security, exposing military secrets and informants in opening them up to all kinds of dangers. With that being said, the idea of a transparent government is interesting and I believe it should be striven for, but not at the expense of innocent individuals.

  8. Bryce Santos says:

    I strongly agree with Mr. Morse in regards to this subject. Though we do have a right to free speech, it comes to a point where we need to agree if it is a threat to national security and the safety of others. Assange and Snowden had a bright idea and they were very successful at it, but I believe that they should have stuck with the corrupt politicians. After they started going after country’s governments, their names started coming into the spot light. I believe that the US government should have the power to look into our personal messages IF AND ONLY IF they believe that one or groups of individuals are a significant threat to national security. Other than that, the government will look at anyones personal emails, texts, etc. under the excuse of the Patriot Act.

  9. Alex M says:

    I believe that the American people should have the right to know what is happening to their freedom and liberties. They should be able to know what the government is doing and how they are doing it. I do believe that some of the things that Mr. Assange and Mr. Snowden have done have been informative and good, but I also believe that they overstepped their bounds. Some of the information that they shared could very easily fall into the wrong hands and get innocent people killed. Some things should not have been shared because the overall outcome of sharing the information had an all around negative impact. I believe that in this new digital age, it is much easier to get around the Constitutional safeguards. The safeguards used to work fairly well but now with the cloud and Internet, anything can be seen and shared, and it is much easier for the government to store and track what people are doing.

    1. Jamie B says:

      I agree with Alex, I believe that the actions of Mr. Assange and Mr. Snowden had definite positive affects on our country and the way that information is released. They uncovered corruption, collusion and illegal activity all across the globe and brought it into the light of the public. But with these pros, there were also cons. Because Mr. Assange chose not to filter any documents before releasing them some harmful information was released. This information could get some people killed or put them in danger. I think that it is very hard to decide what gets filtered and what doesn’t, and it very hard to find a system that cannot be abused once started. It was very tough for them to decide what to do and there is not an easy answer for this problem. I also agree with Alex in that the more the internet and technology progresses the safeguards work less and less.

  10. AndranikM says:

    Some might argue that Julian Assange’s and Edward Snowden’s intentions are a threat to the power of national government. However, Assange and Snowden intentions only want to repair our “democratic” society. Everybody should know what goes on behind our backs. The government is abusing their power by spying on us, hiding war facts and not telling us the truth about any unnatural occasion. Assange and Snowden are the first people to take this problem as a serious threat to democracy and try to fix it. People should be thankful that people like them are brave enough to reveal the things that “the world should know”! I fully agree and support them in what they’re doing. People should support their ideas because they strengthen our “democratic” society.

  11. Michael Liu says:

    I think although Assange and Snowden had good intentions and the information they leaked is what the general public should be aware of, some of the leaked information does threaten privacy and the national security and Assange and Snowden might not think through how great the consequences of leaking such information would be. Although their actions do protect citizens’ rights to know what is really happening behind the scene, they are a threat to the privacy of some people and corporations. I do not think the constitutional safeguards still work in the digital age. On one hand, people can leak behind-the-scene information to the general public like what Assange and Snowden did. On the other hand, the government is able to use new technologies to access citizens’ information and threaten their privacy as well.

    1. Phillip Tian says:

      I totally agree with the points Michael made above. Assange and Snowden are courageous enough to expose the most classified information of the government to the public, and the citizens are, and ought to be, knowledgeable about certain “top-secret” information. However, Assange was focusing on the publishing of the information itself rather than the consequences of publishing these sensitive materials. Those information may put innocent life at risk and that is not what Wikileaks intended to do. With regard to the constitution in the digital age, I think Michael has made a very concise and accurate point—people can leak the secret information and the government can monitor anything they want.

  12. Barry Feng says:

    I think people nowadays have the right to know what is happening in the government. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden did this with good intentions. Their action informed the dark side of the government, which ensured people’s rights to know what is happening in the government. Besides that, everyone has freedom of speech so what they did was not wrong. However, I also think that they should considered more deeply when they decided to exploit the information because it might threatened someone’s safety when they expose some people’s name on a piece of information

  13. Muzo Koksal says:

    Mr. Assange and Mr. Snowden’s work did not only affect America but also other countries around the world. While their work put lives to danger, many more lives were lost because of the secrets that the government keeps. It would be wrong to judge them with the actions of the people who choose to take offensive action because of the knowledge. Knowledge should be free for everyone. Advancement cannot be achieved without the will of the people and keeping secrets from the people and secretly oppressing them is an obvious violation to that will.

  14. danae1111 says:

    I believe that Mr. Assange and Mr. Snowden’s work did affect America and Americans tremendously. Technology constantly influences our lives, and I find it funny that I had not even heard of Mr. Assange or WikiLeaks until I watched the movie in class. The movie effectively depicts the problems of power and technology in the world. However, after watching an interview with the real Mr. Assange, I noticed that the movie falsely displays Mr. Assange’s personality. In the movie he is portrayed as an arrogant, self-centered, and socially awkward extrovert. His motif was to show America how oblivious they were and what they were missing, but the movie gave Assange a different personality. Of course we don’t know the real Mr. Assange, but it is clear from the movie versus an interview that they are not the same.

  15. Rohshan Khalili says:

    I believe that Assange and Snowden are patriots of our society, and all actions they took were justified. In response to people being harmed or killed due to the spread of this information, I refer to Thomas Jefferson who said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” I also believe that the constitutional safeguards abilities are waning in the digital age, and that it is only a matter of time before they completely collapse.

  16. Mickey R says:

    I believe that Americans deserve to know what the government is doing and what is really going on with the government. What Assange and Snowden did was revolutionary. They showed the world what was really going on.They showed Americans what the government really does. Their actions helped save lives and broaden perspectives. Yes, what they did was high risk and extremely dangerous. But in the long run, it was helpful and eye opening to the rest of the world. They had good intentions. They tried to fix the democracy instead of just letting it walk all over us and let it abuse its power. I completely agree with what they are doing. If people support their ideas then it will help the democratic society as a whole.

  17. stephanie hartman says:

    I agree with the ideas and actions of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. I agree that people should not be blind sided and removed from the occurrences of the world. However when people leaked information to be posted on the wiki leaks website, I feel that not much thought was given before posting on how this information might affect one’s life. I believe that better precautions should have been taken before information was released to the public (Some precautions may included blacking out names). I believe that constitutional safeguards does not work well in the digital age. I think that because of the technology that we have now adays, it is always a possibility to break into the system.

  18. Maddy Belden says:

    I believe that Assange and Snowden’s work accomplished a lot. The people deserve to know what is going on in their country. At the same time, innocent people’s lives should not be in danger because of these leaks. I do not believe that the constitutional safeguards work in the digital age. Secret information is being leaked to the general public through technology. In return, the government is looking into people’s digital lives. I don’t believe that the government should be able to see people’s personal emails and texts unless they have a strong reason to believe that they could endanger the country.

  19. Robb says:

    I have still not fully developed an opinion on this subject. I believe there are certain things that the world deserves to know but I also think that for the safety of others, some things should be held back. What Mr. Snowden and Mr. Assange did was brave, but I am not convinced it was the most sensible thing to do. I think that released information should be filtered and that information should only be released if it is going to be beneficial for people. I don’t think that releasing some information is worth putting peoples lives at risk but I do believe that there are certain secrets the world should know.

  20. Hili M says:

    I agree with Assange’s idea of a transparent government. Since we live in a democracy it is fundamental that all people have access to what the government does, what it spends the money with and how it responses and acts in war and international conflicts. Hide this information from people is a contradiction with what democracy really means. Both Snowden and Assange were trying to defend transparency and the fundamental idea of democracy, also keeping this information causes much more damage than if they were shared with everybody.

  21. Gwen Chen says:

    Julian Assange and Edward Snowden intended to reveal the truth to the world. Even though the danger of exposing sensitive information is unavoidable, their actions were informative and constructive because it is important to let people know what is going on especially when building a society of freedom. I think the constitutional safeguards may not work as well as it did before. One of the reasons is that because of the availability and accessibility of the Internet nowadays, it is easier for people to expose confidential information, and simpler for the government to acquire personal information.

  22. Thomas Tabur says:

    I believe that the ideas and actions of Assange and Snowden were necessary. The world needs to know the truth. They revealed many cases of corruption within several governments. They brought down large banks which were corrupt. I believe that the safeguards of the Constitution in the digital age are no longer as effective. No information online is confidential, everything can be found somehow. Once information is online it will always be there. It is very hard to protect secrecy online.

  23. James Harizi says:

    I believe that Assange and Snowden’s ideas, though on paper seem to be correct and right for the people, when executed are very wrong and actually aren’t adding any safety. Although they are adding awareness, they seem to be giving the public information they can not handle. Assange and Snowden must understand that there are something that are better not known by the public, especially personal information about the people in their articles. If they were to censor their articles so that no names or further information was mentioned, I would appreciate what the two were doing much more. I believe that Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have good intentions, but are not properly fulfilling what they wish to. Furthermore, I believe that in today’s world, the constitutional safeguards are not very affective. I do not think that the power can be in check especially knowing that some things are being kept secret. That being said, I think if Assange and Snowden were to use wikileaks.com solely to keep the safeguards up to par and to keep power in check, they would be correct to do so. In conclusion, I do not believe what Assange and Snowden are doing is just, nor do I believe the constitutional safeguards still work in the digital age.

  24. Maddie Evangelous says:

    Julian Assange and Edward Snowden had good intentions for hacking the government. I agree with their objective, which was to show the people of America what the government was hiding from them. They were successful and good at what they did. They were loyal to the leakers by not changing any information, however I think that they allowed it to get out of hand. When names and addresses of government officials were leaked was when I feel as though it was wrong. They wanted people to know the truth and that’s understandable but there is a limit to how much they can leak about the representatives or people because violence will happen. I agree with their idea that the government should not lie or abuse their power. That’s where the idea of the safe guards comes in. I think that the safe guards are no longer effective in balancing and checking power. The abuse of power officials allows the officials to lie to the American people and do things that the rest of American people would not agree with.

  25. Allison Young says:

    Although the work of Assange and Snowden was meant to be beneficial to America, it turned out to be a detriment to the country. Their minds were in the right place, however, when it comes to government secrets, sometimes what we don’t know won’t hurt us. It is wrong that the American people are left in the dark, but the disclosure of confidential information put many people at risk. In the digital age, safe guards are still effective but are easier to get around. Advanced hackers have the power to access anything and everything they want. Whether it be a Facebook account or the presidents email, anything put online can be accessed by anyone. Therefore making it extremely easy to get around safe guards.

  26. Jack Gao says:

    In my opinion Julian Assange and Edward Snowden gave the world a chance to know the truth. I think they created a revolution within our digital age. We can’t say that Edward Snowden is a courageous American hero, but he will be remembered as one long after the “war on terror” is replaced by some other excuse for violating Americans’ rights and the rights of the rest of the world.By exposing the secrets of the government, they claim to have revealed its systematic disregard for individual freedom and privacy. Theirs are not the politics of left against right, or liberals against conservatives, or Democrats against Republicans, but of the individual against the state. To oppose them is to side with power against liberty, surveillance against freedom, tyrannical secrecy against democratic openness. I think the did a great job.

  27. Mike Ferraro says:

    I agree with what Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are doing with Wikileaks. They are revealing information that the government has kept secret for years, most of which is only kept secret to prevent people from thinking the government does anything corrupt or unlawful. We live in a Democracy, so the people should know what’s going on within their country almost as much as the leaders do. Wikileaks has made this possible and it has not only opened doors for citizens, but it has also embarrassed the government because people are finding out information that then government was clearly attempting to hide.

  28. 1313sophia says:

    Julian Assange and Edward Snowden created a riot within our digital age. Not only did they effect our country they have effected other countries. I believe it was important for Mr. Assange and Mr. Snowden to release the information because it is needed for people to have a conception of the issues going on throughout the world. Yet, they way Julian Assange and Edward Snowden published the issues was very dangerous. If they had done it in a safer and respectful way it could have changed the matter they have caused. The actions of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are wrong, but it was critical to understand the issues throughout the world. The problems that Mr. Assange and Mr. Snowden have created prove that the constitutional safeguards do not work well in the digital age as they used to.

  29. Hunter Platzman says:

    I ultimately believe that what Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are doing is a form of terrorism because they are threatening country’s national security all over the world. Assange and Snowden are misguided in their pursuit to exposing the secrets of nations all across the globe as they are causing more harm than good. Sometimes it is best that the truth is kept from people and in this instance it is most certainly the case. Although many governments are corrupt, the way that Assange and Snowden are exposing them is not getting anything done other than getting people killed. If they were to keep names and personal information out of the documents they posted their actions would be more justifiable, however they seem to lack a regard for people’s wellbeing. In conclusion, Assange and Snowden seem to either not have consciences or are just rebels trying to start an unnecessary war.

  30. Tiffany Nguyen says:

    In my opinion, what Julian Assange and Edward Snowden did was right since people had the right of speech. Besides, people around the world deserved to know what was happening behind the scenes. However, they could be more thoughtful about the threats that they have created, thus tried to figure out the way that could help people involved in the information that they leaked became safer. I think the constitutional safeguards still work in the digital age at some degree. Nevertheless, with the improvement in technology, it is harder to protect the information that has been posted and shared on the Internet. Furthermore, the government also has accessed to the citizens’ information, such as their phone calls and text messages, and threatened their privacy.

  31. Lissy says:

    I believe the posting of information on Wiki Leaks can cause one to be in danger and should be taken into account before being posted. For example, in Kenya two innocent people were shot because the files were leaked. Therefore creating an unsafe environment. I believe Assange and Snowden were wrong to do that and took it a step to far. However, that America should be informed on everything the government is doing. Also, the constitutional safeguards do not work well, with the advancement of technology it is feasible to break in.

  32. matthewtj15 says:

    I think the ideas and actions of Julian Assange/WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden were intelligent, and someone had to expose the widespread corruption, but I think that they could have definitely planned their leaks better. For example, in the case of WikiLeaks, Assange’s organization was generally releasing documents as soon as they got them. If they maybe timed their releases better, or managed expectations of the public, the reaction to their leaks would have been less drastic.
    The Constitution was written many years ago, in a vastly different environment from the world we live in today. I believe that in order to maintain a fair and honest government, we would have to rework some parts of the Constitution to fit today’s United States. Internet users everywhere have abilities the original writers of the Constitution couldn’t have foreseen, and the government has to find a way to control these abilities, while still maintaining freedom for all.

  33. Alberto says:

    I believe that Julian Assange tried to do the right thing, and reveal to the public all the things the governments were trying to hide. People have a right to the information the government tries to keep hidden. Assange should not be punished for what he did. Saying this, Assange could have found ways to share this information, without threatening the lives of so many people. People have a right to know what is going on in the world, but also they have a right to safety. Assange had the right ideas, but the ways he put the information out with the peoples names, and address was not necessarily the safest. Snowden was also trying to show what the government has been hiding from us. The government is tapping into our phones, which is kinds like taking a part of our freedom away. Again I don’t think that Snowden should be punished for sharing this information, because he shared information that all citizens of the US should have.

  34. meghanbouvier says:

    What Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have accomplished is very controversial. On one hand its an amazing feat and allows the public to see the truth. However, on the other it represents a great danger and is a threat to national security. I believe that the information being leaked was being kept secret for a reason in order to preserve national security and protect individuals from harm. I believe that although Julian and Edward provided the public with information they “have the right to”, they went about it wrong. They did not think about the life threatening consequences and the countless lives they were putting in danger. I believe the constitutional safeguards put into place to protect national security do not work in the digital age. As proven by Edward and Julian, technology allows for countless loopholes (ex: the rubber hose) used to portray any given information.

  35. Dervin Hylton says:

    I believe that Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are both brave and encouraging figures for the citizens all around the world, mainly in the U.S. They did a good deed by exposing our government that is seen to be the best government in the world. The government should not be allowed to track everything someone may be doing and have the ability to cover up their secrets. To an extent however, it can be a good thing for the government to know what types of activities could be happening in the nation. This should just be an agreement from the citizens of this nation. We do not know for a fact that if the government does not release information for the benefit of the nation. They could just be hiding the fact that they have made mistakes and are afraid of the reactions they might get from people, and are afraid of the consequences. If however, Assange and Snowden are not correct about the secrets within the government, I still believe they are courageous for their actions.

  36. jack says:

    I think Julian Assange and Edward Snowden did a right thing to publicized the government’s dark secrets. Most of the information they leaked is all the public should have right to know; there is some information that might cost some safety issues but overall they are just telling they public what they should know. Everyone have the right to speak what he or she wanted to.

  37. Antonio Avallone says:

    I think that the actions of Assange and Snowden were a dangerous attempt of trying to show Americans how the government really operates. It did confront the government about things it has tried to hide but it came with negative affects. People were becoming endangered by these documents because their names were attached to them. They decided to have everything that was posted to be unfiltered which ultimately caused people to be killed. It even caused a threat to national security. Enemies such as terrorist could see these things and plan around them with better ways to attack us. That is a huge problem that Assange and Snowden caused putting America in danger. I don’t think the constitution still safeguards the nation in this digital age because when it was written there was no technology around to influence it. Nowadays with this new technology there are many ways around the constitution because all of this stuff is new which they writers of the constitution didn’t prepare for. The constitution could be fixed in ways to better protect America with the ever changing technology.

  38. aidan3 says:

    Julian Assange and Edward Snowden exposed important secrets involving the U.S. and other world governments. I mostly agree with what they are trying to do, however I think they took it too far to the point that peoples lives were at risk. Corruption in government is a serious continuing problem, which affects everybody in society. Living in the U.S. we have a great amount of freedom including free speech, so we should have the right to know what our government is doing behind closed doors and be able to speak up. WikiLeaks is a great revolution, but has many downsides. The safety of politicians or people ‘high up’ was at risk due to the knowledge being exposed. An example of this is the men in Kenya who were assassinated due to their involvement with WikiLeaks. All in all, I do not believe the constitutional safe guards work in the digital age.

  39. Tommy Sun says:

    In my opinion, on one hand, Julia Assange and Edward Snowden are doing the right things because they hack the government in order to reveal disclosure and tell people something truth about American government. It is important for people to know everything in a society of freedom. On the other hand, although they protect privacy of people who reveal the disclosure, they do not protect privacy of some innocent civilians and corporations who get exposed. I don’t think safeguards still work in the society. Government can easily access and save personal computers’ information while hackers like Julia Assange who have high technological skills can get into the government’s network and expose scandals of the government.

  40. Jeff.Shi says:

    I believe information Assange and Snowden have leaked should know by everybody in the society. We cannot deny that this will threaten privacy and national security, and what they have done may affect and threaten people’s life, but this action is about more citizen’s rights to know the truth, so that they can protect themselves in a better way. I don’t think the constitution is working well in this digital age, because people are using all thoughts of technologies to access other people’s information

  41. Elena Ngjela (Helen) says:

    Julian Assange and Edward Snowden both have the same idealism: to reveal the unfiltered truth about what the government is keeping from the public. Though they have the right intentions to keep the public informed, they went about it in the wrong way. By releasing the government’s documents without keeping names and such out of them, Julian Assange risked many lives. And by telling the public that everything is being kept and monitored from all electronic devices, Edward Snowden risked the right of privacy and freedom of speech. It is quite ironic, that they use their freedom of speech to expose what others say and do to prevent danger and wrongdoing. It is true that already people are killed by what the government is hiding, itself, but such information could kill even more. Regardless, there are always pros and cons in ideas, and the ideas that these gentlemen created have their own as well. With such cases, I would say that the constitutional safeguards do not work well into the digital age, as everything is monitored without consideration of privacy, although the idea is to keep everyone safe. But by doing that, more lives are put in danger. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have the right idea of revealing the truth without filtering any information, but they approach it with the wrong actions, hurting many people.

  42. theswedishgovernment says:

    I think what Julian Assange and Edward Snowden did was a good idea by leaking information on WikiLeaks that was meant to be secret since that was and is information the society should know about. However the idea turned into a bad idea when they leaked information about people that were innocent and got hurt because of them. I don’t believe it was fair of them to put so many innocent people in risk by not erasing their names from some of the documents that were posted. Although I think the society should know anything about what the government knows since the government knows everything about us, unless it is a very conscious and secret topic/document they should keep it secret during the process/mission.

  43. Mariano Ricciardi says:

    I think that Julian Assange and Edward Snowden’s actions were intended to sabotage America.They took advantage of Americas freedoms.The United states has given civilians the freedom of speech and press so why would the two sabotage that to cause extreme havoc within America’s highest in power. They’re pursuit to expose classified links of American terrorism and corruption caused many Americans to turn against the country then to just “exploit the truth”. Both Snowden and Assange did not understand the magnitude of they’re leaks they are forever in hiding and can never live a normal life again. I understand that no countries government is perfect but the leaked government document caused just as much if not more horror throughout the world. I believe that Assange and Snowden didn’t realize what they were exploiting and what terror it would cause throughout the world until the documents and link were already published.

  44. Ben Goldsberry says:

    Julian Assange and Edward Snowden both thought they were doing the right thing, but never took into account the repercussions of their actions. They were both so single-mindedly focused on releasing the information and showing the public the truth that they forgot to take into account the reaction the public would have. Neither Assange nor Snowden realized that the leaked files would seriously endanger people’s privacy, livelihoods, and even lives. The data endangered undercover agents, politicians, and even caused the assassination of many who were working against oppressive governments. If Assange or Snowden had taken the time to sensor the information they released, they would have been able to stop much violence. Their actions would have actually helped to expose the violations that many countries had acted out behind the public’s back, and safely exposed these threats to democracy.

  45. Jack Zimmerman says:

    I believe that all people have a right to free speech. However, I think that Julian Assange and Edward Snowden took their freedom of speech to a whole new level in their website “WikiLeaks”. Even though I think that they have the freedom to speak freely, I believe that if it gets to a point where it is a threat to national security and the safety of people that it is unnecessary. Assange and Snowden violated peoples’ privacy by hacking into servers and exposing countless documents on military tactics and other classified information for anyone to see. With this information being released, many innocent people were being attacked across the world. I believe that people can speak freely but if it puts peoples’ lives at risk it is not a moral thing to do.

  46. brookesaballer says:

    I believe that Assange and Snowden were wrong in leaking numerous important governmental documents. Although, I believe people have a right to know these “secrets”, by leaking them the way that Assange and Snowden did, it was an injustice to their freedom of speech and rights because Assange and Snowden were taking advantage of such privileges. Overall, I think it was ultimately bad for Assange and Snowden to leak these documents because it demolishes national security and could even impact foreign relations and the power of the United States. Even though I think that it is important that the American government not lie to itself and its people, I think it is more important for the American government to keep itself and its people safe, even if it means lying to them.

  47. Eunice Yang says:

    Julian Assange and Edward Snowden were doing crimes. They are self-centered and narcissistic. They were leaking the important information of the government. Hence, they think they have some sort of power over the government. They think they are the God who can save the world by telling the public truth. However, Julian Assange put many people’s life in danger. For Edward Snowden, although he told the public that NSA can have the information of everyone, nothing really changed. As we put our information online, we have already had a conscience that the information will be saved to certain places or data bases. In addition, many people are doing illegal things online, from stealing money to planning terrorism. National Security Agency has obligation to protect us by collecting the information online. Therefore we can have a peaceful life.

  48. chochingrachelchan says:

    I believe what Julian Assange and Edward Snowden did was very intelligent and brave because it is the government’s secrets people have the right to know. However, their actions were also foolhardy since the leak had put many people’s lives at risk and they never consider the consequences behind it. I think in some situation secrets are better not to know, especially controversial subjects like national security. I do not think the constitution safeguards still work in the digital age because with the advanced technology, it becomes so easy to track every information digitally. An example would be the US government tracks every e-mails and messages we send everyday and I think this greatly offend our freedom of speech.

  49. Brandon Jo says:

    While Julian Assange and Edward Snowden thinks that what they do are the right things, some people see the problems in the things they do and think that those things have to be stopped. Although it is true that the information they have leaked did cause some problems such as a leak of personal information, the problems are very minor compared to the things they accomplish through those leaks. One of the most important aspect in the Constitution that protects people from an abuse of power is checks and balances. The information that Assange and Snowden makes public is in fact, a system of checks and balances that indeed works out well as they prevent the government from doing what they are not authorized to do. This can definitely not be seen as a threat to government power since the information does not prevent the government from doing anything that they actually are permitted to do.

  50. quananhtran says:

    I believe that Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are heroic figures. The things they did to expose the government were acts of courage. They exposed hidden information about the government that no one knows existed. However, this information put people’s lives in danger. I advocate their work, but at the same time their work involves the government, and the government is not someone they can fool around with. The constitutional safeguards were once effective, but nowadays the digital age is taking over. I don’t think constitutional safeguards still work in the digital age anymore, due to the fact that people can leak vital information to the public.

  51. yuanjinma says:

    Although the intention of Assange and Snowden was good, and the information they leaked somehow should be aware of by the people, their actions did bring terrible consequences. After Assange and Snowden started this digital revolution, threats to the government were spread and people innocent died. Privacy of the citizens is important, but their safety should always be the first place. Revolutions occur because people are not satisfied with the society and pursue better lives. The digital revolution, however, was unsuccessful and unworthy because people’s most basic right, which is to be alive, was not protected so that they lived in fear.

  52. nicholeyao says:

    The action and ideas of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden had good a purpose but was foolhardy. They believed that everyone had the right to know the truth. But they didn’t realize that the truth was so powerful that public was not ready for it. Ferment, murders came after the revealing of the truth they spread by Wikileaks. The facts like all calls and texts are being recorded can only make the public panic, and the NSA would not stop doing so just because the public knows the truth. Not to mention the terrorists who the NSA wanted to track would know the same information the Wikileaks spreads, and change another way to communicate. Although it is true that everyone has the right to know things, at the same time, the truth will also harm the public.

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