Finding The Balance Between Privacy And Security

1535 words - 6 pages

Clearly, the United States is in unfamiliar territory when it comes to combat-
ing counter-terrorism with technology. The founding fathers could not foresee
the technological advances, and the complications that arose from them. Under-
standably, the United States law enforcement is having a rough time reconciling
the constitutional rights aorded to its citizens, while protecting them from a
terrorist threat.
Initially, the government struggled with this balance. What brought these
laws on in the rst place was the lack of balance; security dominated privacy
during the Vietnam War to an unacceptable point. While FISA, in reality, did
not do much, it did set a precedent for later acts. Its wording was built on over
decades, slowly evolving it into something eective.
As time went on, technology expanded even more. With the creation of the
Internet, and other technological advances, the previous laws were no longer
applicable. People knew this, and the government feared if they did not put
protections in place, the general population would not utilize the Internet, for
fear of being spied on. ECPA was passed, and provided privacy for Americans
on the Internet; people were not to be monitored without cause.
However, law enforcement agencies surveillance technology was not always
compatible with the new technology available to the general public. If the tech-
nologies were not compatible, surveillance could not be conducted, and this was
a huge problem. This brought about the passage of CALEA, which compelled
any telecommunications carrier to ensure their technology was compatible with
the government's surveillance technology. This guaranteed it was possible for
the government to monitor suspects.
Up until then, Internet privacy laws were unobtrusive. Then, the terrorist
attacks occurred. The United States has repeatedly got caught up in
oods of
patriotism, and chosen to sacrice freedoms in exchange for heightened security,
and that happened again immediately after the attacks. The PATRIOT Act
was passed almost instantaneously, trading American freedoms for the sake of
national security. The controversial act was a response for the panic-stricken
Americans, and was the government's way of assuring another attack would not
happen.
Across the ocean, western Europe was also caught up in the turmoil. How-
ever, wiretapping was already commonplace, and did not need an act like the
PATRIOT Act to grant the necessary permissions. Instead, the European Union
took a dierent approach. They began to record and keep track of the comings
and goings of their citizens, storing all the data, in the event that it might prove
useful in the future.
However, the fear did not last forever. As time went on, the immediate
threat began to fade. With the diminishing threat, the need to sacrice privacy
for protection ebbed as well, leaving only public backlash in its wake. The
European Union's Data Retention Directive has come...

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