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Back You are here: Home Columns Weekly Columns For Your Consideration For Your Consideration: Security Quandary

For Your Consideration: Security Quandary

By CHARLIE ALLO
Contributing Writer

The nation is facing a major problem related to the gathering of intelligence to protect its citizens from attacks by terrorist: the problem may be seen as having at least three major areas that need to be defined and controlled to stay within the guidelines of the Constitution.
It is clear that the Founding Fathers could not have envisioned the advances in communications that the world has gone through in the past hundred and fifty years, nor could they have envisioned the ability of nations to collect, store, and analyze massive amounts of data collected from a verity or source.
One problem is that some citizens consider some of the communications that are being utilized as being of a private nature, and yet much of this information is being transmitted over the internet.
Many citizens are using the Internet to send mail these days, this mail is not treated with the same privacy as the mail that is sent through the postal system, and this can present problems for many people.
Almost every business that one deals with is suggesting that people use electronic means to conduct a variety of business transactions and many of the transactions are, or can be, subject to access by a number of different sources, some of this information is acquired illegally.
Another area of contention is the information that is collected can be used for good or ill, not all of the information is done to protect the nation from terrorist attacks; it can also be used by companies to sell products that a person might be interested in, or to project a person’s attitude towards any number of positions that will have an impact of how they will react to something the government or a company may want to do. It has been suggested that the Democratic Party’s win in the presidential race can be credited in part to the Party’s ability to maximize the turn out during the last election; this aspect can be very disturbing considering the Part’s control over the various government agencies, this is not to suggest that the government exercised any control in these areas, but the possibility of improper use should be of concern to the electorate. Some irregularities are being reviewed by Congress that would suggest that actions were taken by the Intern Revenue Service (IRS) to prevent a verity of organization that may have presented a problem for the Democratic Party from getting accreditation as nonprofit organizations. With the wide variety of private and public organizations collecting data for various purposes, the activities tend to get lumped together as a single subject, the treatment of these various data collection groups needs to have a set of principles that govern them according to their objective and type of information being gathered.
The convergence of these problems at this point is an opportunity to do some serious work on reviewing the methods used to gather information and to control the accessibility to the information that is collected. The action by Edward Snowden and the presses reaction to his statements have helped to amplify the need for a serious review of this subject. Most of the comments that have been made as to the damage done by this person, at this point, are bogus. The terrorists started changing their mode of operation a long time ago; the real problem has to do with the lack of control within the various agencies, but they would rather not draw attention to this fact. Intelligence is an important element in the government’s efforts to protect us from attacks by terrorist, but the fact that the information gleaned can also be used in ways that are not intended to protect citizens, but to enhance a political party’s acquisition for power; this is a very real threat to our freedom, and neither party should be exempt from scrutiny by the public and press. The government has shown that it cannot be trusted; to ignore this fact is to allow a gullibility that should not be tolerated. It still remains to be seen how much value all this intrusion into a citizens privacy has added to our safety.