Editorial: Government’s information accessibility still stirring criticism

By Editorial Board
November 11, 2005

The average Cabrini email account consists of messages from various campus offices. Advertising emails about cell-phone deals and future job positions also pile-up one after another, sometimes arriving quicker than we can delete. Some of the messages catch our attention while others are not even given the chance to be opened.

Mixed within the emails about less important issues are personal emails from friends, family and loved ones. Personal emails sometimes deal with private issues such as finances or family-related topics. These emails are addressed to one person and one person only.

After the installment of the Patriot Act, however, the United States government feels it is imperative to be able to view forms of personal communication like the email. Email surveillance is just one aspect of the Patriot Act that has jeopardized the American citizen’s right to privacy.

Other tools of communication are being monitored as well. Telephone history, Internet interests and library usage have all been transformed into weapons for the government in counter-terrorism operations.

These facts about government monitoring are not a surprise to the American people. Members of the FBI, the CIA and other government organizations have been utilizing the controversial rights of the Patriot Act since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Although debates have surrounded the Bush administration’s endorsement of the Patriot Act since its creation, American citizens have grown relatively accustomed to the Act and cooperated with the privacy infringements.

The question that has been raised recently is the adaptations the Patriot Act has underwent and where limits will be enforced. The most perplexing recent issue is the excessive government use of National Security Letters.

National Security Letters resemble warrant-like demands for access to information desired by the government, no matter how personal it may be. The troubling aspect is that the members of the FBI, for example, do not have to go before a judge and request to gain this information.

All that is required to obtain information is the signature of a senior administrative member and a brief explanation of why the information is needed. The combination of easy access to private information and a multitude of people with the ability causes one to assume that inappropriate use is inevitable.

The adaptations to the Patriot Act do not stop there, however. A former enforcement by congress was to destroy the information of innocent citizens no longer needed for an investigation. This act is no longer enforced. Now, once a person’s information is in the system of whichever government organization it may be, the information may remain and used by other members if desired.

These new changes and advancements for “counter-terrorism” may be protecting our nation more than we know, but how much further will they need to go? Some citizens insist that they have nothing to hide and the government can monitor them if need be. It is certain that we will reach a point where the freedom restrictions and government surveillance will be considered excessive, and then again, some say we already have past that stage.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Editorial Board

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap