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A Right To Privacy Essay

856 words - 4 pages

As a result of the terrorist attacks in 2001, congress and President George W. Bush enacted the USA Patriot Act on October 26, 2001. The act’s name is an acronym, which represents “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.” Provisions of this act include: Enhancing domestic security against terrorism, surveillance procedures, removing obstacles to investigating terrorism, increased information sharing for critical infrastructure protection, terrorism criminal law, and improved intelligence (USDJ.com).
On May 26, 2011 President Barack Obama signed a four-year extension, the Patriot Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, of three ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore, these demands are made without any meaningful oversight or prior judicial review and also carry a gag order, which prohibits recipients from being informed of the demand (EFF.com).
However, undoubtedly the greatest threat to personal privacy lies with the fact that special secret military courts authorize all of the measures in the Patriot Act. This means that there is no check on this executive power. No other power has gone so unchecked in American history. James Madison argued in Federalist #51 “[In government] the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other--that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights.”
Some have argued that personal privacy is a small price to pay in order to avoid national catastrophic acts of terrorism and achieve safety. Others argue that privacy shouldn’t matter if you have nothing to hide. However, once we as Americans begin giving up or limiting rights, we can neither predict nor choose the consequences of our actions. Benjamin Franklin clearly illustrated this point with his words for the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1755, “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither...”(Brainyquotes.com)
Although the situation is drastic, there are both large and small-scale solutions to this problem. The most obvious solution is for Congress to repeal the Patriot Act. However, this is clearly not plausible. Therefore, the best solution is for Congress to enact new legislation that modifies the current Act. Modifications can be made to put...

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