Government Surveillance Versus Citizen Privacy


The attacks of September 11, 2001 provided an opportunity for the government to pass both the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security, which provide the federal government with unprecedented, so-called “preventive” powers to block potential threats to the nation and its citizens.  As a result, the nature of surveillance has changed dramatically over the years. The original form required an evidence-based court order to intercept the communications of an individual suspect. Surveillance was authorized if it was necessary to capture potential terrorists, and the infringement on liberty was proportionate to the nature of the crime at hand. Today, however, surveillance agencies intercept massive quantities of communications from millions of people and then search through this database for information related to terrorist suspects.

Government Secrecy Versus National Security- A White Paper

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