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protecting privacy

Introduction: Protecting Privacy–A Fundamental Human Right!

protecting privacy

Protecting privacy is a fundamental right granted to all Americans enshrined in the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution’s Bill of rights. The Fourth amendment protects Americans from unwarranted invasion of one’s privacy. The right to live without interference from any governments, local, state, or federal agencies. Permission to bypass the amendment comes only with probable cause and a warrant.

Sadly, over the history of Judicial Review of privacy rights, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) tends to weaken the amendment as they did in the Dobbs decision overtyrning Row v. Wade.

Additionally, SCOTUS more often than not comes down in favor of police and law enforcement generally. With the advent of online access, the right to privacy has further eroded. Giant corporations like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and many others, collect data they offer for sale to advertisers. Frankly, there is nowhere to hide! Of course, one may trash one’s cell phone, computer, tablet, or other electronic devices connected to the internet. Then again, one might sell the house, car, and anything electronic and build a log cabin in the woods. There you have it: hunting for food and fallen logs for fire to provide warmth and cook one’s food. Yet again, one must avoid human contact at all cost. Is this anything that the founders envisioned?

This piece discusses the privacy pickle we are in. Primarily due to the rapid and unregulated rise of internet piracy by American (and worldwide) oligarchs. The government and private business knows more about you than you know about yourself. What may you do to fight back short of disappearing from the grid? Is it time to get serious about protecting privacy in the United States?

The Right to Privacy: A Guaranteed American Right

Privacy is not a luxury but a fundamental human right. It is universally recognized by international treaties and embedded in the Constitutions of many democratic nations. In the United States, this right finds its strongest protector in the Fourth Amendment. Yes, it defends individuals against unwarranted intrusion into their personal lives and possessions.

Protecting Privacy: Safeguarding Individual Liberties

The Fourth Amendment, a pillar of constitutional law, stands as the guardian of individual privacy and security. It unequivocally proclaims that people have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects. It also specifically guarantees against unreasonable searches and seizures. Additionally it establishes a critical condition for the issuance of warrants. This condition is probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation. Three conditions are necessary for obtaining a warrant. 1. a clear and specific description of the 2. place to be searched and 3. the items to be seized.

Government Surveillance: A Disturbing and Hidden Reversal of Protected Rights

In recent times, the scope and scale of government surveillance activities have raised serious concerns. In particular, regarding the overreaching collection of data. This collection, especially from electronic sources, occurs without the necessary probable cause warrants. These revelations of misuse, particularly within agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), are both alarming and disturbing.

The Government Surveillance Reform Act: Protecting Privacy

In response to growing public demand for meaningful reform, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has taken a significant step by introducing the Government Surveillance Reform Act (GSRA). This comprehensive legislation, championed by Senators Ron Wyden and Mike Lee, along with Representatives Warren Davidson and Zoe Lofgren, aims to address the rampant abuse of surveillance authorities, including the controversial Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Protecting Privacy Rights for ALL Americans

The GSRA seeks to strike a delicate and necessary balance between national security and individual privacy. While renewing Section 702 of FISA for four years, it introduces crucial reforms that protect Americans from warrantless backdoor searches. Additionally, ensuring that foreigners are not used as a pretext for spying on American citizens. Additionally and explicitly prohibits the collection of domestic communications.

Protecting Privacy: Extending Reforms and Banning Data Broker Deals

The bill goes above and beyond by extending similar reforms to activities conducted under Executive Order 12333. It takes a significant step by banning the government from purchasing Americans’ data from brokers, an all-too-common practice that has raised privacy concerns. Moreover, the GSRA mandates the use of warrants for surveillance of U.S. citizens’ location data, web browsing history, and search records, including data gathered by artificial intelligence assistants like Alexa and Siri.

Wide Support for Reform for Protecting Privacy

The GSRA has garnered extensive support from a broad array of rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Brennan Center for Justice, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and many more. Generally understood as landmark opportunity to protect Americans from warrantless government surveillance and close serious legal loopholes. By doing so, it not only reinforces the foundations of individual liberty but also preserves national security interests.

Conclusion: Safeguarding Privacy in the Digital Age

In a world where technological advancements continue to reshape the landscape of surveillance, it is paramount that we uphold the principles of the Fourth Amendment and protect the privacy rights of all citizens. The introduction of the Government Surveillance Reform Act represents a significant stride toward achieving this critical goal. It is a direct response to mounting concerns of government overreach and a testament to the urgent need to strike a careful balance between security and individual liberties. As we move forward in the digital age, it is imperative that we prioritize the protection of privacy, reinforcing the very core of democracy upon which our nation was built.

By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

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