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The ideology of the government having the privilege to eavesdrop on citizens is arguably comparable to the limited capacity of citizens to do the same to each other or the government. Appreciation of the significance of this practice by the government is necessary for an exhaustive analysis of the implications of social interactions and cultural orientation of citizens. Listening in on citizens can be related directly to the political situation of a country and the perception that these citizens have towards their government, whether they are aware of such monitoring or not. Eavesdropping, in some discussions, is considered an infringement on the civil liberties of citizens, while in others, it is a way for security organs to offer security through eased garnering of data and communication within its social space. Therefore, this analysis assumes the standpoint that society should not prohibit government eavesdropping, but rather engage functional surveillance in increasing efficiency of security systems. It also considers the necessity of positive perception from society in aiding such surveillance.

Mass surveillance may be regarded as a practical approach for governments to control society, assess risks, and respond with minimal impact to social interactions. Its necessity, therefore, relies on the setup of a community and its requirements towards privacy. In the American setting, for example, civil liberties are seen as imperative to freedom and unwarranted surveillance is tantamount to an invasion of privacy (Lyon, 2014). This system attempts to qualify the level at which eavesdropping can be justified, and increases the confidence of the society in its approach towards eavesdropping. However, within these limitations, there exists abuse of capacity to eavesdrop by government agencies, especially on electronic platforms. It is necessary to appreciate that such agencies may act in the interest of national security or be driven by malicious intent (Betts & Sezer, 2014). In such situations, it remains necessary that the society continually engages government agencies that have such surveillance capacity to ensure that such systems function within the limitations of necessity.

Conversely, the social perceptions towards eavesdropping have changed over time, especially with the modern use of electronic based communication. These communication platforms offer various deterrents to eavesdropping, but cannot guarantee private information transfer. The argument that is commonly provided by government agencies is that citizens need not worry of surveillance if they are not involved in illegal activities (Betts & Sezer, 2014). This, however, may not inspire social confidence in the operations of a government, especially with personal information. Also, access to such information may not be guaranteed, and this may leave citizens feeling vulnerable. The disclosure of information obtained from eavesdropping is only permitted on a legal platform, but the handling of such information still leaves the public concerned with who can access their personal data (Betts & Sezer, 2014). In this respect, it is necessary that a government agency tasked with assessing persons within society do so with secrecy and minimal interruption of the social settings being investigated. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

On the sociocultural front, the impact of policies allowing eavesdropping on communication is significant where society values privacy. Within the current age of electronic communication, the confidence that these people have towards their communication devices is based on the level of intrusion that a government possesses. In situations where all communication is to be filtered, the levels of privacy drop, and necessitate that the community interacts on different (more private) platforms (Bajc, 2013). Nonetheless, the ability of persons within the community to be aware of eavesdropping limits their concern towards privacy. Since these individuals may not be interested in encrypting communication or eliminating third party listeners, their interests towards eavesdropping policies are insignificant. In such settings, the society does not care whether their communication is bugged or not.

The necessity of eavesdropping towards the maintenance of national security relates directly to the interests of the citizens. However, for their approval of such surveillance tactics, there is a need to inspire confidence in government operations in light of security threats. Terrorism, for example, is a common factor in the discussion, since intelligence is necessary for the prevention of attacks. In this respect, the government is tasked with the identification and assessment of threats through eavesdropping on communications between suspects (Lyon, 2014). Without such measures, it would be difficult to assess and predict the occurrence of these risks. Still, the argument against eavesdropping attempts to indicate possibilities of profiling and interfering with persons who are not threats, whose rights to privacy are violated (Bajc, 2013). However, the benefit of the usage of covert approaches in investigating such persons ensures that the information obtained is only as deemed necessary and such data secured after closing an investigation. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

In the overall sense, eavesdropping is a significant contributor to the effort towards ensuring internal security but with costs on social perceptions. It changes attitudes towards communication and may influence communication habits. However, since it directly contributes to the feeling of security of these individuals, it is possible to overlook sociocultural impact for the benefit of securing the citizens from terrorism and crime. Within all these factors, it is necessary for government agencies to vet the ethical limitations of their surveillance techniques and ensure functional and useful surveillance without contradicting of any social justices.   [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]


Bajc, V. (2013). Sociological reflections on security through surveillance. Sociological Forum28(3), 615-623.

Betts, J. & Sezer, S. (2014). Ethics and privacy in national security and critical infrastructure protection. 2014 

Lyon, D. (2014). Surveillance, Snowden, and big data: Capacities, consequences, critique. Big Data & Society1(2).

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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