Essay on National Security: At What Price

2051 Words9 Pages
National Security: At What Price

Never has information played a more important role in society than it does today. The advent of the Internet has made the distribution and collection of information easier and faster than ever before. Today, the Internet is used for communications, shopping, management, and even financial transactions. Despite the slowing economy, recent years have seen a large increase in Internet usage by corporations, and research indicates that this trend will likely continue. Figures gathered by eMarketeer indicate that Internet based commerce will reach as high as $2.4 trillion by 2004 (B2B). With easy access to information from anywhere on the globe, safeguards must be taken to protect sensitive data from
…show more content…
Congress). It is argued that such a scheme could improve national security by allowing the FBI to more easily trace terrorist communications (Schwartz). While the Congress recently eased restrictions of encryption software (US Encryption), the recent events of September 11th have brought the issue of regulation back into question. As our nation faces the threat of additional terrorist actions, we must consider every opportunity to protect ourselves and the rest of the world.

Despite the possible benefits to national security, many businesses and organizations stand opposed to any government involvement. Some consider a government controlled system unwieldy and potentially dangerous (Abelson), while others claim that government access to encrypted data violates our right to privacy (US Policy). Even if controls were imposed, cryptography software exists worldwide and would not be under the control of the US government.

Recent advances in technology have made possible powerful network "sniffers" which can be used to intercept Internet transmissions. These systems raise additional questions regarding privacy and encryption. The FBI and other government agencies desire the legal authority to use these systems to actively search for criminal activity, a move which is opposed by many privacy and civil rights organizations.

Faced with these issues, we must make a choice: how much
Open Document