Where do US Presidential Candidates 2016 stand on Privacy and surveillance?

US Presidential Elections of 2016 will be held on November 8th this year and already aspirants from Republicans and Democrats have started their campaigns on a serious note. Therefore, here’s what their stand is on Privacy and Surveillance.

First the Republicans-

Ted Cruz- Ted Cruz, the Senator of Texas who stood first in the Republican Caucus in IOWA, is known as a staunch conservative opposing Big Brother. From the beginning, he is pretty consistent with those views and shortly after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California in Dec’15 by self proclaimed sympathizers of Islamic state, Cruz opposed many politicians in his own party who were calling for expanded government surveillance powers.

Ted Cruz said “hoarding tens of billions of records of Americans internet activity and telephonic conversations” didn’t prevent the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Boston and elsewhere.

His stand is clear as it says “When the focus of law enforcement and national security is on ordinary citizens rather than targeting the bad guy, we miss the bad guys while violating the constitutional rights of American Citizens.

Donald Trump- after Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks, Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, and suggested that more surveillance on Muslims could protect America from terrorist attacks.

He insisted that Americans would be willing to give up some privacy in order to have more safety.

Marco Rubio- Florida Senator Marco Rubio is a strong support of NSA surveillance powers such as metadata collection supposedly authorized under patriotic act. Rubio has voted against the law that was enacted to replace the Patriot Act, known as the USA Freedom Act.

Rand Paul- Kentuck Senator Rand Paul has long opposed NSA surveillance and touts as the most unpatriotic of acts. At one of the Republican debates last August, Paul clashed with Governor Chris Christie over NSA powers, with Christie claiming that the government needs “more tools” for fighting terrorism, and Paul arguing that the US Constitution requires a warrant for collecting data from Americans.

Jed Bush- Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is in support for cyber security policies. But at the same time, he openly criticized the Obama Administration for its failure to prevent state sponsored cyber attacks such as NSA stealing vital info from Sony’s servers. Bush also said that NSA and FBI needs more tools to fight cyber crime and are unfairly demonized.

Ben Carson- Ben is a retired Neurosurgeon and like Trump has never held elected office. He proposed that the fed should work with encryption specialists to help the government gain access to encrypted data and communications. Although, Ben’s suggestion gives us a feeling that intelligent agencies should have access to backdoor, he doesn’t want to ban encryption.

What the Democrats say

Hillary Clinton- Despite the fact that this lady is involved in a controversy of hosting her own private server for official correspondence; she is one of the much loved ladies of US who has a high probability to reach the Presidential seat of 2016. Hillary, who is a former secretary of State, has shown her full support for the Patriot Act when it was initially passed in 2001, and was in favor of its renewal in 2006. Clinton in one of her speeches said that NSA leaker Edward Snowden should be brought home to face the music.

Bernie Sanders- Senator of Vermont Bernie Sanders is against NSA surveillance and has called it as “Orwellian” and “unconstitutional”. She voted against the Patriot Act in 2001 and 2006 and also opposed the USA freedom act for not having enough privacy protections.


Therefore, Republicans and Democrats have a wide range of views on surveillance and privacy issues and this is what can be concluded from the viewpoints of the candidates. However, some of the strongest pro-privacy candidates don’t have the backing of the major parties.

So, watch out before your vote guys!

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