Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The problem with preserving and protecting our God given civil liberties is:

1. There always seems to be groups of people who want to take them away.
2. People do not tend to trust government.
3. Civil liberties and national security do not always mix.

It's a hard balance to keep. Here is an article on the subject that I found interesting.


Cameron said...

Hmmmm. Are "civil" rights God given or government given?

Peter Nguyen said...

Well, I think many of the founding fathers would argue that civil rights are God given and that government should ensure them.

Blake Roberts said...

They cetainly thought life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were God given (as they said plainly that they were endowed on man by our Creator). When saying such, they said "amoung which", so we can only assume that there are others.

I think that before we can really address the issue we have to establish a couple points.

1. Is the internet a public domain?

2. Must a buisness preserve the privacy of it's clients?

If the internet is a public domain, then maybe the government does have a right to moniter it and how it is used. If I go to the mall, the security can wathc me to make sure I don't shoplift, or if I'm driving photo radar can take my picture if I'm speeding. If a store is robbed, the Police often go to other buisnesses and check thier security cameras to see if the robbers can be seen more clearly, or any other evidence gathered. If they are investigating a child pronography, how is it differant?

I don't know for sure how I feel about it. Despite some reservations, I think the good outweighs the bad. But I think that unless there is warrented, the buisness should not be forced, but it should use wise judgment in not just turning over anyhting that might assist in catching these perverts, but should activly police themselves in being sure thier service is not used for the exploitation and degredation of chldren.

Lauren Bingham said...

I'll expound on this more when I get the chance, but for now thing about this. The gym I work out at is a public place, do they then have the right to video tape me in the shower to ensure I don't steal their shower curtain? A hotel room is a public place, is it legal/ethical for them to place cameras in the rooms to prevent vandalism?
My point is that just because something is a public domain doesn't mean government has free reign to monitor (and publish) everythign that goes on there. What we do on the internet (from what we write in emails to which sites we visit and how often) is a far more personal thing than driving or grocery shopping and should thus be treated differently.

Blake Roberts said...

You make an excellent point Lauren.

Would the situation be differant if the company told it's consumers it would do so before they use it? For example, if I went to a gym and they told me before hand that their policy was to have cameras in the showers to prevent theft, I would be ok with it (I wouldn't shower there, but I would have no problem with them doing so, as you then knowingly forfeit your right to privacy to use thier accomadations). Would that be acceptable?

Cameron said...

The Founding Fathers thought that mankind was given many rights by the Creator, and that it was government's duty to secure those rights through the power given it by the people it governs:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,"

The Declaration of Independence truly is a remarkable document.

Cameron said...

There is, and always has been, a conflict between freedom and protection. Our court system is designed not to imprison every criminal, but to attempt very hard to not imprison innocent people.

The article in question revolves around internet pornography. It is a heinous crime, especially when it involves children. It should be prosecuted. But when does our desire for justice infringe on our god and gov't given freedoms? How far are we willing to go to catch the bad guy?

This particular case at first glance doesn't seem to go too far. Correct me if I am wrong, but it appears that the gov't wants to require ISP's to keep the client information that they already have for a certain amount of time. That way, if a criminal activity has occured, it can be proven using this information. No new information will be tracked. It will simply be held for a designated period of time by the companies that gather it, during which time prosecutors can legally access it in order to convict criminals.

Peter Nguyen said...


I think you hit it right on the head. I'm concerned however, that this could foreshadow more data-mining and trolling.

I'm basically paranoid of another Nixon type scandal. Requiring ISP's to keep records for the sake of tracking down child pornographers is great. It's only when less than well-intentioned politicians get involved do I become concerned.

Like I said, I'm paranoid.

Blake Roberts said...
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