Unfortunately, in return for a perception of security,

Unfortunately, in return for a perception of security, both physical and on the Internet, some computer users have begun to accept unprecedented compromises in privacy as being part of the price to be paid to counter an envisioned terrorist threat associated with computer usage. In return for a feeling of “protection” with vague ties to national defense, more and more of what used to be private data and folks’ own business is now available for inspection by corporate and legal observers. Giving up the proven checks and balances that are the underpinnings of a free society may do more harm than good. Recent reports, such as a summer 2003 incident in which one or more airlines turned over to a contract firm working for the Department of Defense the transaction records of a half million passengers for use in an experiment on database profiling, have demonstrated that relaxed restraints against law enforcement agencies can lead to egregious actions. Numerous press reports have indicated that the expanded powers granted to law enforcement agencies in the name of homeland defense have resulted in those powers being used increasingly to investigate and prosecute crimes under laws not related to homeland defense at all. This, in turn, has resulted in a mini-backlash designed to rein in the security promoters, heightening the debate.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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