2002-12-07 / Editorial/Opinion

We’re Well Past Big Brother

We’re Well Past Big Brother

When President Bush signed the Patriot Act into law, federal and local law enforcement agencies were given an enormous amount of power and leeway in battling terrorism. As a result, millions of people in America believe that we have ushered in the age of "Big Brother," and that we will be giving up too many of our civil rights and rights to privacy in this battle. With technology such as The Green Lantern, government agencies can come into your home and plant a "tracker" in your computer. This allows them to track all keystrokes, Email, and material downloaded or uploaded on your computer. The government’s position is that they have to use whatever means necessary to thwart terrorism, but it is not sitting well with many who feel that government is becoming far too intrusive. Cameras are being placed in areas of New York and other cities without the public’s knowledge, in an effort to discourage "suspicious people" from carrying out "suspicious acts." Now, there is talk of the government monitoring cell phone calls to try and listen in on conversations between many of the terrorist cells that are still in the country. The Green Lantern device poses a threat to all those who may be conducting a business from their homes, such as attorneys and freelance contractors, as the government would now have access to all information that is solely between the lawyer or contractor and the client. An argument can be made that having the government track cell phone calls would be a gross invasion of privacy if a doctor has to contact a patient regarding a serious illness, such as AIDS. We are living in a period where a terrorist attack can occur at any moment, and we must take certain measures to prevent this from happening. However, it is equally important to make sure that our civil rights and rights to privacy are maintained. If we choose to live in opposition to this, we may as well burn the Constitution.

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