In the American society, the privacy of the people as well as other individual rights are some of the things that are considered with utmost importance. However, there comes a time when these individual rights are withheld and the government or its agencies violates them. Below is an explanation of instances when the right to privacy of an individual can be infringed.
For a long time, America had been enjoying a period of peace and the security agencies did not have as much to worry about. However, this was bound to change after the 9/111 attack where the intelligence services as well as the security agencies had to find new ways of collecting information that could lead them to apprehend potential terrorists. As such, the National Security Agency (NSA) started running a program where it could tap the communications of the citizens so that they could get the information they needed, and prevent potential crimes from happening (eff.org, 2012). However, such a program was faced by various challenges, such as the ones stated below.
First of all, there was the argument that such a program was wrong and illegal, since it led to the tapping of conversations that re bound to be private (eff.org, 2012). This implies that information that was intended for other people lands on the wrong ears; those of the intelligence officers. Well, while this might be true, it can be said that the reason as to why the information is tapped is so that the security of the larger society can be assured. As such, the tapping is not illegal as it is just a measure of crime prevention. Other people argue that the process infringes on the rights of the people. They argue that according to the constitution, the people are protected by the Bill of Rights from illegal searches. However, this can be refuted by the fact that most of the people concerned in tapping the information, especially the intelligence officers, have court warranties to go on with such activities. After all, the search is allowed by the law as a method of trying to ensure that crime is prevented.
Electronic Frontier Foundation (2012) has it that a court in Florida upheld the constitutional right against forced decryption. Conducting of searches on people’s communication as well as listening to their communication can be termed as an infringement on this right. Well, while this might seem to be true, it cannot be denied that there is the Wiretap Act (nsawatch.org, 2012). This Act, especially in Title VII, lays down the standards and the regulations that have to be followed when conducting these searches. As such, unless the provisions of this Act are not followed, then there is no way that such a search can be said to be illegal. It is fully allowed and acceptable, and is also constitutional.
Lastly, there is the argument that the whole idea of tapping into people’s communication can be termed as eavesdropping. As such, there is no way that such a practice can be encouraged or practiced. However, NSA (2012) has it that this is not eavesdropping per se. Rather, it is just a method utilized by the intelligence services to collect information that can be used in preventing crimes from occurring. It is, therefore, not wrong.
Eff.org. (2012). What Can the Government Do? Retrieved on 13th Aug. 2012 from https://ssd.eff.org/book/export/html/25
Electronic Frontier Foundation. (2012). Appeals Court Upholds Constitutional Right Against Forced Decryption. Retrieved on 14th Aug. 2012 from http://cacm.acm.org/news/146361-appeals-court-upholds-constitutional-right-against-forced-decryption/fulltext
Nsawatch.org. (2012). Eavesdropping 101: What Can the NSA Do? Retrieved on 14th Aug. 2012 from http://www.nsawatch.org/eaves101.html