The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Wiretapping straddles rights

By Shelly Williams/editor-in-chief

Freedom of speech?

Protecting privacy?

Liar. Liar. Pants on fire.

Several rights of the first 10 amendments are being dissected more and more in the bills discussed in today’s government, leaving U.S. residents hitting walls and straddling thin lines wherever they turn.

Two weeks ago, it was the Dream Act, creating dead ends for immigrants and citizens alike.

Lately, the two rights above have been brought into question. Federal law enforcement and national security officials said they’re preparing new regulations for the Internet, an article by The New York Times said.

Basically, officials want Congress to require all services that allow communication — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social media websites and software like instant messaging — to be technically capable of complying with a wiretap order, the article said.

The thought behind it is to track criminals and terrorists, hunting them down through a power so big it allows everyone to have a voice — the World Wide Web.

Maybe this is an extension of former President George W. Bush’s Patriot Act, a bill that allows the government to tap into communication avenues with a warrant.

But in a day when the Internet revolves around most of our lives in a very public manner, how do we capture cyberterrorists while still protecting our natural rights?

True, the right to privacy is an implied right in the Constitution, but the right to free speech is stated without implications.

These two go hand in hand with the support of three Bill of Rights amendments meant to protect certain aspects of privacy, like the privacy of beliefs (First Amendment), privacy of the person and possessions against unreasonable searches (Fourth Amendment) and the privilege against self-incrimination, providing protection for the privacy of personal information (Fifth Amendment).

Is there a way to chase down terrorists and criminals through cyberspace that doesn’t limit or take away from our freedoms?

Can the U.S. have those freedoms with Big Brother watching over its shoulder?

See the thin line?

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