Powers of surveillance by governmental agencies is at an all time high, yet the people of America seem uninformed, or at least ambivalent toward, the ever-shrinking rights to private communication with people or organizations. The mainstream media is quick to point out when data is stolen by hackers looking to steal money, yet they seem to ignore the fact that our government has access to every email, text message, phone location records, and even phone calls between individuals. The director of the FBI, James Comey, is seeking to expand their capabilities to include direct access to cellphones, tablets, and computers, via an expansion of the CALEA act. This request is in the interest of “public safety”, against “potential terrorist threats”, according to Mr. Comey.
This is a slippery slope, one in which it is nearly impossible to come back from. Where does the individual right of “reasonable expectation of privacy” begin? Should Americans lose all of their privacy to prevent future hypothetical attacks? How long before the government relaxes the restraints, and starts using these tools to convict Americans of non-terroristic crimes? Most people do not know the extent of the surveillance capabilities of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and local law enforcement agencies, and our government likes that just fine.
Source: “FBI wants Congress to mandate backdoors in tech devices to facilitate surveillance,” Homeland Security News Wire, October 20, 2014, http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20141020-fbi-wants-congress-to-mandate-backdoors-in-tech-devices-to-facilitate-surveillance.
Student Researcher: Chelsea McCampbell (Indian River State College)
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)