Journalist, Jeffery Rosen, publishes “Protect Our Right to Anonymity,” to the The New York Times in September 2011 which reviews the recent evolution of technology and the controversies in regards to jeopardizing America’s public privacy. Throughout the article Jeffery Rosen proposes that, individually and collectively, Americans must protect themselves by pressuring the Supreme Court to honor the Constitutions’ Fourth Amendment by rebutting the expansion of public surveillance. He effectively uses examples of pathos, ethos and logos throughout the article to create emotion, distinguish credibility and convince the audience by statistics to support his thesis. Rosen’s thesis states that by legally allowing public surveillance in the United States, citizen’s rights are breached according to the Constitution of Rights and they must resist change without relying on the Supreme Court to represent the nations perspective. Public safety is becoming more of a concern, especially with high volumes of youth frequently accessing the Internet.
Before Rosen introduces his argument to the audience he opens with an anecdote addressing and acknowledging positive outcomes resulting from public surveillance. By addressing opposing arguments Rosen avoids any critical feedback from readers before he advances his claim. In Washington DC police officials use unwarranted trackers on a suspected drug car and proved helpful in convicting criminals less violently and more easily. Opening with the example of illegal tracking of alleged drug traffickers, the author sets up his argument and easily identifies the problem with the audience. Tracking without a warrant currently breaches the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution that states, “no unreasonable searches and seizures of our persons houses, papers, and effects” (Rosen 1). Throughout the article Jeffery Rosen uses several rhetorical appeals. Firstly and most prominently used is pathos.
Pathos targets the readers’ emotions, which inflicts fear of being constantly monitored by public surveillance. Soon after capturing the audiences’ attention with anecdotes, Rosen uses extreme exaggerations to further impose fear. He states that two federal appellate courts have already practiced the use of GPS devices without warrants, like police officials were doing in Washington D.C. Again exercising pathos by creating fear and cracks in the United States security. These rhetorical techniques strongly emphasize problems with public security. Rosen hopes to influence Americans to stand up for their rights by exposing the severity of public surveillance that is demonstrated through the article. Midway through Rosen’s article a transition is made from focusing his audience from educated adults to the younger generation of Internet users, allowing his message to expand to several different audience members. Examples include the relation to Facebook and Google users.
The transition made addresses the concern that Facebook has already implemented surveillance tagging features. Photo uploads are downloaded to a database and cross-reference to produce an identity of individuals on Facebook. This function, being open to the public, executes a perfect example of technological evolution and their negative effects on citizens, like safety risks. By using ethos Rosen introduces Andrew McLaughlin, head of Google’s public policy, who expects an increase in public video requests globally. Therefore enabling anyone with Internet access to monitor any individual on any street camera, representing pathos. Rosen revisits his thesis when giving the audience additional solutions to the problem. “To preserve our right to some degree of anonymity in public we can’t rely on the courts alone” (Rosen 2). This implies action by American citizens is required. Rosen incorporates examples of logos backed up by statistics including 15 states implementing laws criminalizing the use of tracking devices without government approved warrants.
Rosen continues his argument by exercising credibility when introducing Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, and Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, who proposed the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act. This Act was proposed to protect the citizens of the United States against extensions in public surveillance. Rosen’s examples of pathos, ethos and logos discussed above strengthen the argument and well execute tactics to creating awareness of the public privacy within the United States.
The author consistently relates to his thesis; by legally allowing public surveillance in the United States, citizen’s rights are breached according the Constitution of Rights and they must resist change without relying on the Supreme Courts to represent the nations perspective. Public safety is becoming more of a concern, especially with youth constantly active on the Internet. Rosen forms clear ideas, easily followed by the educated American adult, as well as reference to younger citizens, throughout the piece. The strategies pathos, logos, and ethos used were clear, strong, and relative to the American population.
Rosen, Jeffery. “Protect Our Right to Anonymity” The New York Times. 12 Sept. 2011. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.