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Drone’s Eye View
Discuss the Anarchist project and the Fourth Amendment

ANARCHIST is a series of images that Laura Poitras has drawn from the documents provided to her by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. They display signals collected through an eponymous top-secret operation run by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the United Kingdom’s surveillance agency. From the top of the Troodos Mountains on the island nation of Cyprus, two antennae operating twenty-four hours a day intercept signals from satellites, drones, and radars in the Mediterranean region. The images in ANARCHIST show various stages in the process of descrambling the collected signals. 

a. Ask your students to use these resources to research and discuss the Anarchist operation.

Do students think it is in the public’s interest to report this story? Why or why not? 

Ask students to compare the written information with the images. How do the words and the visual representations inform their understanding of the Anarchist operation differently? 

b. The Bill of Rights Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is intended to protect people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The Fourth Amendment has been debated frequently during the last several years as police and intelligence agencies in the United States have engaged in a number of secret, controversial surveillance activities. For example, the National Security Agency has collected Americans’ telephone and Internet data as part of the “war on terror.” There is also concern about the use of aerial surveillance by piloted aircraft or drones like those in the Anarchist operation. Ask students to read and discuss the Fourth Amendment: 

The Fourth Amendment was written 300 years ago. Does it still protect our personal privacy today?

How would students change the Fourth Amendment to address privacy issues raised by contemporary surveillance, the Internet, digital devices, and drones?

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