Uncle Sam Wants You To Meet Big Brother

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission came a step closer to allowing federal law-enforcement agencies to use the Internet to tap into your e-mail and voice messages. By giving the high-tech industry another year to come up with a legal way to monitor the packet-mode communications used for the Internet, the FCC seems ready to widen the government’s investigative power in much the same way it did for telecommunications.

Tapping Into New Technology

Telecommunication companies must comply with a new set of snooping regulations by June 30. Court orders will now enable law enforcement officials to listen in and track down individuals that use call-forwarding, call-waiting or conference calls. They will also be able to trace numbers even after a connection is made to a long-distance provider using a toll-free number.

The government believes that it needs such additional electronic surveillance to keep tabs on foreign terrorists and organized crime that threatens the security of the U.S.

Potential Loss Of Freedom

Some privacy advocates strongly disagree. They point out that the foundation of the freedom enjoyed in the United States and the rest of the free world is based on an individual’s right to privacy. They also contend that throughout history, totalitarian regimes have cunningly eliminated the freedom of speech by cloaking their methods in the guise of national security.

In addition, they fear that without the necessary restraints, such ability to tap into an individual’s private e-mail and computer hard drive would be tantamount to making the private life of every citizen in the U.S. an open book.

Big Brother Is Here

Speaking of books, I still remember the effect that George Orwell’s “1984” had on me when I was in high school. The specter of having an omnipresent “Big Brother” watching every move I made sent chills up my spine. But little did I realize how prophetic Orwell would be. By the few strokes of a pen, the FCC could make each of us the new Winstons of this brave new world.

Monitoring Purchases

I don’t think there should be a compromise, if it means law-abiding citizens will be stripped of their privacy in the process. I think it’s time for the public to send a resounding “no” to those who support measures that allow its government to spy on its citizens. Deluging your representatives in Congress with e-mails of outrage is one way to make your voice heard.

What do you think? Let’s talk about it.

3 Comments

  • Greetings from Norway!
    As a person living in Norway, but with strong links to the US, (having lived there and my son lives there right now) I AM EXTREMELY concerned about what your "Uncle Sam" wants to do now. In fact, I AM terrified!!
    As a norwegian I have been forced to witness some of the ideas coming from my own government over the years, but have been able to survive the worst of this "knowing that there still is at least ONE country who is willing to stand up for individual rights, my right to privacy and personal freedom. Boy, was I wrong! This ONE country, the USA, now seems to be the worst country in this respect. I have seen other signs of how bad things are in the US as well, but this last pce. of attack on individual rights really made me lose all faith.
    The technology available today makes it possible for any government to make it almost IMPOSSIBLE to commit crimes. I, for one, reserve the "right" to BE ABLE TO commit crimes, should I want to. Living in a world where this has become impossible is not being able to live as a freed human being at all!
    Shame on you USA! You are taking the lead position AM ong those who really want to see the terrorists win!
    They made you take our induvidual rights and privacy away!
    Concerned regards from,
    Helge Normann

    • This is ridiculous. I don’t know if there is a language barrier here, but your post is full of hyperbole and rhetoric. You reserve the right to commit crimes, what a foolish waste of space. Freedom comes at a price. No one wants to give up their freedom, but there comes a time when we must give up some rights to secure the bulk of them. It is scary and upsetting, but it needs to be done. If you don’t like it here, then stay in Norway, you’ll help cut down on traffic.

      • I don’t support the US either although i live there i was actually wondering if i should leave before this and now i AM . by the way Helge uncle sam is in the US supposed to be the one to collect taxes he is also the one who drafted people in the 2 world wars and vietnam (i’m not sure about the last one) so yes already he is like big brother.

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