Internet and Personal Privacy
In the world of today most records can be easily accessed by a home computer. Even Governmental records can be viewed. Some believe this has benefits, while others are screaming about invasion of privacy. Heated debates can go on for many hours about this topic. Each side has people who devote all their time and energy to see their side of the argument prevail.
The Freedom of Information Act which was established in 1966 states that all people shall have access to federal records. This allows the public to be kept abreast of the workings in the government. Any person may request a document, which the government must present, however, the government can not synthesize a document. It is even possible to order these records on the World Wide Web. The father of the Freedom of Information Act, John E. Moss, "believed that citizens have a right to the information gathered with their tax money and that enforcing that right is essential to maintaining a democracy. "
There are many types of records, which can be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and most can be viewed with a computer. Many believe this empowers people. Yet, there are many people who do not understand the powers that are granted with the Freedom of Information Act. The church of Scientology has taken on the responsibility of informing people. The church does not only inform the citizens of the United States, but also peoples of other countries.
On the side for freedom of information is Attorney James H. Lesar, "Lesar is widely recognized as one of the nation’s preeminent attorneys in the Freedom of Information arena. " He "has obtained the release of approximately 1 million pages of documents, primarily from the FBI and the CIA." However, mostly he tries to make public any governmental findings dealing with the assignation of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. This would not have been possible with the Freedom of Information Act.
There are nine exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act, national security, internal agency rules, information exempted by another federal statute, trade secrets, internal agency memoranda, personal privacy, investigatory records, and other exemptions.
Does the public’s right to know out weigh one’s personal privacy? The personal computer does make privacy difficult. Databases have been created simply to hold ones personal information, and many times these databases can be accessed by any computer-geek. One such database is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), created by Herbert Hoover. This database holds information on every American person ever arrested in the United States.
How could this information not be beneficial? Many times the information is neither accurate nor complete. What could happen if the wrong hands...