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A Rant About Electronic Privacy Issues.

2107 words - 8 pages

Electronic surveillance has progressed to the point of infringing on the rights of everyone on the planet. The thought of privacy is a vanishing notion. There are government agencies and private individuals that have the technology to decipher what is being typed right now on this paper. There are cases in the court system at this moment that addresses the issue of vanishing privacy. Some of the areas of concern are the way the worlds governments and individuals have been spying on the worlds population, the need for some kind of regulation on this technology, and the moral dilemma as to who is going to be the guardian of our privacy.Has electronic surveillance gone too far? Some people would answer a resounding yes. Other people, on the other hand, would say no. There should be a point that we can assign to the right amount of watchfulness. There is not a point that we can define at this moment in time. The interception of communications has been one of most powerful tools in fighting crime. In fact this type of crime detection goes back as far as the seventeenth century in the colonial United States. In 1640, Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Colony boarded a supply ship headed for England. Once he was on the ship he opened a letter from one of the inhabitants of the new colony. He returned to Plymouth with the letters in hand and made a public accusation of the person that wrote the letters. Bradford stated that he was justified in searching out and opening the letters. He was quoted as saying that it was "to prevent the mischief and ruin that this conspiracy and plot of theirs would bring on this poor colony." 1 The interception of information has risen to what is almost an art form, and has many uses in today's technological societies. One way in which the privacy of the world's citizenry has been affected comes from the United States government's guardian of secrecy, The National Security Agency, or NSA as it is normally referred to.The NSA has a listening system in place called ECHELON. ECHELON can almost listen to every telecommunication transmission on the planet. Think about that for a second, a system that can hear close to every transmission made 24, 365 days a year. That is a very, very, ominous threat to the private lives of everyone. ECHELON is not supposed to be used against any U.S. citizen no matter if they are on the continent or any place else on earth. To help the NSA in their efforts to analyze virtually every phone call, fax, email and telex message anywhere in the world the NSA has some mighty allies. The NSA controls ECHELON but it is run in conjunction with the General Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) of England, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) of Canada, the Australian Defense Security Directorate (DSD), and the General Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) of New Zealand. These organizations are bound together under a secret 1948 agreement, UKUSA, whose terms and text remain under wraps even today.2...

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