Essay on Threat to Internet Privacy

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Threat to Internet Privacy

Abstract

At what level is Internet surveillance by the United States government acceptable to society, considering a balance between security and privacy, what are the short and long term implications, and how does it affect the rest of the world.

Introduction

Privacy from governments has been under assault increasing amounts in the last 100 years. Technology has revolutionized the concept, as before we had microphones, telephones, wiretaps, video cameras, someone would actually need to trespass to violate your privacy. For example, you would need to actually be in someone?s house to eavesdrop on his or her conversation without technological help[1]. Privacy protection can be looked at as how
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But a prudent teacher could buy them in another town to avoid this act being discovered by the school. But with computer technology, the bar code on the condoms could be tied to the credit card number and to the school records, informing the school that a teacher made an unacceptable purchase[2], potentially costing the teacher his or her job. Current technology makes such a scenario feasible. However, such a compilation of publicly available information seems like quite an intrusion of privacy.

Yet, this ability to track someone?s actions could be used to catch potential criminals and terrorists. A terrorist could research how to make a bomb online, take flight lessons, and communicate with other terrorists over email. If this activity were properly monitored, the terrorist could be caught before any harm was done. Current practices of monitoring based on the Patriot Act have been given credit for catching more terrorists than ever before[3]. At what level are we willing to give up our personal privacy for security?

The United States has long had a practice of respecting privacy and considering it an individual right. In 1890, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis stated that individuals have a ?right to be left alone?[4]. The courts have used this repeatedly as the basis for upholding personal privacy, though just as often overlooked this right when

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