I agree with the opinion of author’s majority that privacy is a basic human right. In this paper, I will analyze cases of governmental denial of this right. No other aspect of citizen’s rights is as investigated as their online presence (Fleming et al., 136). Therefore, I will try to show the counterproductive nature of censoring what individuals can do online. The first aspect of interference in an individual’s privacy is through Iinternet sites censorship.
The reason why this amounts to privacy infringement because agencies are charged with monitoring of some sites to know when has logged in to any site on their watch list. Therefore, they take stock of everything one does through these sites. Further, it is a hindrance to educational goals (Fleming et al., 136). However, the worst interference with citizen’s privacy occurs in cases of physical search in people’s places of residence. This should be limited information and only can be given by the court issuing such a warrant to ensure that privacy of the affected is not compromised.
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When government invades citizen’s privacy so as to know what they are doing it is both frustrating and against all rights which constitution has bestowed on them. Section 508 entails designing of software, web sites, hardware, multimedia, video and telecommunications so as to meet accessibility standards for all people and especially the disabled (Muller, 196). What is the essence of interfering with the same? The benefits are lost when these same rights are ‘taken back’ through censoring what one can browse on the Iinternet. It should be accessible to the disabled regardless of whether they work or don’t work for the federal government (Muller, 56). Such positive steps are lost when the same government which has made these rights interferes not only in an online presence but what they do with the facilities this opportunity presents (Boase et al., 75). Those requirements catered the provision of smart phones, telephones and the various mobile devices, operating systems and software, Iinternet and intranet websites among others. However, authors have argued that accessibility is not limited to the disabled people and those applications, which facilitate accessibility, are a plus for all people (Muller 82). Thus, intervening with such rights presents a fundamental interference in the people’s privacy.
Most government websites did their best to beat the government deadline for compliance with section 508 (Muller 45). Unfortunately, mere compliance does not result in accessibility for the intended category of people. When this is coupled with privacy laws, both the able bodied and the disabled loose.
The suppression of the information people can view on the Iinternet or through communication with their peer’s means that the government wants to determine the information which people can consume (Boase et al., 75). The civil rights of United States are inalienable as opposed to the privileges which are just granted on the citizens. These rights have been defined as the constitutional and individual liberties which are much more important than a specific person, corporations and some parts of the government (Alexander).
The rights which have been placed in the bill of rights include the privilege to bear arms, privacy and freedom of speech. These civil rights mean that citizens can express themselves and enjoy their freedom without any governmental interference (Fleming et al., 136). However, there is no protection against some aspects of this freedom in cases such as child pornography, damaging of the nation’s interests, and words which can result in war actions. These acts fall outside of the first amendment of privileges (Alexander).
On the other hand, threats such as publishing of illegal acts, threat of bodily harm and possession of weapons such as bombs can also be declared as illegal. There is no such arena like the Internet which is targeted by the government. The government encourages the shutting down of any sites which might encourage credit card theft and cyber crimes such as scamming. Further, the government’s encouraging for prosecution against anybody circumventing the blockage goes against the rights of private individuals to express their view. The governments of United Kingdom and United States have been at the forefront in implementation of these rules which although well intentioned, can be misused. This amounts the citizens to take the burdens of people with criminal minds. People should be allowed to behave in accordance with their free will and with laws of the nation in mind. It is a fact that when absolute independence exists no society can be expected to function (Gordon). There ought to be a basic framework made up of rules and guidelines, which already exist (Alexander). Therefore, the government ought to protect the democracy of people and to deal with the problems of insecurity which many Americans face without compromising the personal privacy of people. The other case where privacy infringement occurs is in incidents which involve non-citizens.
Their houses can be arbitrarily searched for suspicions such as harboring of aliens and involvement in criminal activities. The most prominent of civil rights which every USA citizen enjoyed are those enshrined in the 1964 civil rights act (Gordon). As pertains to civil rights and privacy, the Supreme Court plays an essential role in interpreting the extent to which these rights are applicable. In addition, the statutes, state constitutions and municipal ordinances are crafted to ensure that there is protection of civil rights and liberties (Alexander). The right to privacy is included in many international agreements and ordinances.
The most prominent among these rights is the “International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights”. After the terrorist attacks which occurred on September 11th 2001, the Homeland Security Department has been largely blamed for breaches on privacy. Due to this began screening and searching of people perceived to be potential enemies of the United States (Fleming et al., 136). There is a provision that the government posses the right to search and confiscate the business documents, personal records and telephone/Iinternet activity of people without any probable cause, especially if it will help in investigation of terrorist activities. This means that the law enforcement officers can compromise a person’s privacy and security in order to achieve its ends (Gordon). The Department of Homeland Security has been blamed for most heinous interference with the privacy of both citizens and aliens. The Department of Homelands Security has the responsibility in most cases where citizens have complained of their privacy being compromised. This beats the essence of being in a free country.
However, in several cases the United States citizens has succeeded in making the government to change these laws. The 1996 Communications Decency Act was suspended when the United States Supreme Court found that this was in violation of both the privacy and rights of United States’ citizens (Boase et al., 75). The Reno v. ACLU case was determined to the effect that such anti decency provisions were illegal.
To begin with, what is the purpose of blocking a site which contains governmental viewpoints on dangers of cocaine when the same software is unable to censor another site with details how to make cocaine? This is the reality when the government blocks sites that are thought to contain harmful information. The software is used only to expose individual’s private lives but they are unable to block harmful materials totally.
Further, documents such as the Declaration of Independence should be at the disposal of all young people across the globe. When these filters end up blocking such historical masterpieces, then their purpose is lost, and they become just a hindrance to educational goals. What one has access to in the privacy of one’s house is very different from what one does. Therefore, privacy and access ought to go hand in hand.
Freedom of Worship is enshrined in most constitutions around the world. Therefore, when books such as the Bible and The Book of Mormon are censored, it amounts to deny those who is interested in these books a chance to further their knowledge on what they believe.
Works of Sherlock Holmes is respected around the world. However, we find that in some sites works by this respected mind are censored (Muller, 52). When both the young people and the reading public are denied in this access, it means that a chance to build on their knowledge is impossible. This implies that a person starts to filter harmful or dangerous content and then ends up filtering valuable information, ideas and points of view. This is an infringement on what one can or cannot do in private. This is against what all systems of education strive to inculcate. It further begs the question on how students can be responsible and make intellectual and social choices when such choices are made for them by filtering the information which they can access (Muller, 41). Farther, those who are responsible for enforcement of censorship policies do not make any distinction between adults and children.
The establishment of DHS entered into a pace setting agreement with the National Security Agency and the Department of Defense to ensure that there is a division of labor among the organizations. The private community has not been left behind in the protection of the country’s infrastructure resulting and increased funding for port communication and security systems. Unfortunately, despite the good intentions of DHS, it has meant blatant interference in privacy of individuals (Muller, 85). This is especially for people of Arabic origin. Deployment of the Einstein 2 and 3 threat detection systems throughout the federal space has provided DHS with the required capability to ensure disruption and early detection of any malicious cyber activities. This is acceptable only for the random nature of detection activities, due to this some innocent people have found themselves as unfortunate victims of these activities.
DHS has come up with structures to ensure that there are high levels of preparedness incase of various categories of disasters and increased resilience of the United States infrastructure deemed to be most vulnerable. This includes whole body screening of people which can be misused (Gordon).
To ensure that people who are deemed to be sympathetic to terrorists do not access chemical materials which they can avail to them there are measures in accessing such using the terrorist screening databases. This means that DHS is always aware what people can do dangerous in their private spaces. Probably the worst interference in rights of citizens who believe they are in a free country is in security searches.
It is approximated that in the next one decade, everyone on Earth will have access to Internet connection (Fleming et al., 143). Although Internet contains almost every type of information one may seek, there is no single authority to control its use especially among the young people (Muir, 9). This has made people to believe in their rights as citizens of a free country a mirage on the Internet aspect. Further, there exists no control over the materials and information distributed over the Internet. This means that without any form of censorship students in schools can access harmful sites such as contain pornographic materials, download any materials they wish and as a result of the several secure storage options conceal these materials from the rest of the family (Vromen, 57). Therefore, instead of students concentrating on class work they would be engrossed in addictive thoughts about sex.
Further, through censorship students are protected from addictions which may come to plague them in future (William Dutton et al, 16). Finally, terrorist groups around the world have adopted the use of various sites to spread their harmful propaganda which can easily pass as the truth for young minds. Such sites can mislead students to the extent of making them easily impressionable to think about ways to kill their schoolmates. Finally one of the most draconian laws which infringe upon the privacy of citizens is Stop Online Piracy Act.
Although aim of this act is to ensure that service providers have the capability to stop incidents piracy and take down any offending sites, these companies access private information whose owners would have balked at revealing (Boase et al., 75). Therefore, it is imperative that the government has limited access to the private information of its citizens. Controlling the cyberspace is a government’s method of knowing the most private actions of individuals.
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