What has government done with civil liberties?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In my mind, the last ten years has seen a fundamental challenge of civil liberties with the passage of the Patriot Act.  Life since the Patriot Act has consisted of a balancing act between understanding the need to be vigilant, but also the need to recognize that civil liberties and security are not mutually exclusive.  The passage of the Patriot Act, in its own right, took away basic civil liberties by increasing governmental control and authority into realms previously deemed as private.  The increase in government control and authority in the name of preserving security has led to civil liberties being challenged and, to a certain extent, threatened.  I think that this is where government currently is with civil liberties.  It is seeking to understand how it can maintain security and gain intelligence without sacrificing the privacy of its citizens.  In the last five years, greater awareness of this balance has become more prevalent.  In my mind, this is different from the mindset that was present when the Patriot Act was passed, when many argued that individual liberties need to be sacrificed for the "greater good" of security.

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