Ethics of the USA PATRIOT Act Essay

Ethics of the USA PATRIOT Act Essay

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Ethics of the USA PATRIOT Act


Another week, another series of patches to download from Microsoft. It seems like every week, Microsoft is under siege from one virus or another. The complexity in the billions of lines of code embedded in its products make it impossible to be error-free. If it is this easy for hot-headed M$ haters to breach the world’s largest software maker, one has to ask: how hard would it be to expose vulnerabilities in the most sophisticated and technologically dependent country in the world?

That is exactly what the US government is mulling about. The Information Age has brought unparallel speed of communication plus an immeasurable breadth of information to our fingertips. On the same token, it is also seeing the birth of newer and cleverer ways to create weapons that are too small to detect, too easy to produce, and too widespread to catch them all. For years, the government tried expanding its powers, first in the Reagan Administration, then the Bush (I) Administration, only to be rejected in the Legislature time after time. However, after the 1996 Oklahoma Bombing, the executive branch received some powers. But not until 9/11 did the government win unprecedented expansion of powers from the USA PATRIOT Act (Incidentally, Congress was going to pass a law to repeal those won in 1996 prior to 9/11). [1]

The USA PATRIOT Act stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act” (USAPA). It entrusts government agents to a whole new arsenal of weapons to counter terrorism. Besides fully upgrading many watered down surveillance laws, it also promotes the use of the pen register, trap and trace devices, carnivore, sneak and pea...


... middle of paper ...


...p because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, but by that time, no one was left to speak up." 2

[1] http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/MiddleEast/TerrorInUSA/USAPA.asp

[2] http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/usapatriot/

[3] http://www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=444

[4] http://www.aclu.org/Files/OpenFile.cfm?id=14799

[5] http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/Terrorism/PATRIOT/safe_act_analysis.php

[6] http://www.lifeandliberty.gov/subs/q_support.htm

[7] http://www.lifeandliberty.gov/subs/s_articles.htm

[8] http://www.lifeandliberty.gov/

[9] http://www.lifeandliberty.gov/subs/p_congress.htm

[10] http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/55/33106.html

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