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Internet wiretapping in an age of terror

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November 28, 2005

Internet wiretapping in an age of terror

Steve Rosenbush

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling for an Internet-wide blogger's rights campaing. You can join by clicking here. The purpose of the campaign is to wage "a fight for free expression, political speech, and the right to anonymity online."

I'm behind the campaign, but with one major exception. The EFF and other groups want the government to suspend new Internet wiretap rules. I can well understand why people are so opposed to the concept of the government monitoring the computer usage of citizens and U.S. residents. I understand that it places enormous power in the hands of the government, and that the wiretaps could be abused by political or economic interests. That will remain a risk, as long as the government is subject to corruption. But we have lived with wiretapping and its potential abuse for a long time. Surveillance plays a legitimate and crucial role in criminal justice and national security. Do we really want to cripple government surveillance in an age of terror? Or should we sanction government surveillance, managing it as closely as possible but accepting the fact that we can't eliminate the risk of abuse. This is a tough one for me. What do people think?

02:27 PM


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Sacrificing civil liberties at the alleged benefit of reading the emails of people who are less than likely to be terrorists?

How is that not a "the terrorists have already won" scenario?

Posted by: Patrick Kellison at November 30, 2005 03:52 PM

Bloggers seem so open when it comes to spreading their points of view yet want to hide behind the blog curtain. If your so open then what are you hiding? I think for everyone’s mutual safety we must let the space be watched or tapped.

Posted by: Jonathan at November 30, 2005 11:15 PM

I think that the main difference between Internet and traditional wiretapping will be the scope of the US government's reach this time. As I understand it (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong), every person, through their ISPs, would effectively and automatically become a wiretapping target, deprived of the basic safety requirement of law enforcement agencies having to convince a judge to allow each wiretapping case on its own merits...

If you are struggling about whether such increased surveillance powers should be granted to the US government, just consider what Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers, wrote: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Posted by: Mario Jaramillo at December 3, 2005 10:39 AM

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