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Permanent Record Themes

Mary H. K. Choi
This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Permanent Record.
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Mass Surveillance

The central theme of the memoir is mass surveillance and the potential impact on individual liberty when a government covertly monitors the public’s digital activities. The founding premise of the book is that the system of mass surveillance created by the NSA in the aftermath of 9/11 and revealed to journalists by Snowden in 2013 posed a potential risk to every member of society, not just those involved in illegal activity.

Snowden makes several arguments as to why ordinary members of the public should be concerned by the prospect of governmental mass surveillance: the most compelling argument Snowden makes regards the 4th Amendment and its guarantee that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause” (229). By arguing that data should be treated as...

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This section contains 2,667 words
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