In which areas do you think people's rights and liberties are at risk of government intrusion? What solutions would you impose?

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There is a certain level of privacy that is bordering on being infringed upon with government intervention. Access to the internet, phone lines, and travel is monitored so closely that the government can know anyone's whereabouts and activities at almost any time day or night. This level of oversight is...

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There is a certain level of privacy that is bordering on being infringed upon with government intervention. Access to the internet, phone lines, and travel is monitored so closely that the government can know anyone's whereabouts and activities at almost any time day or night. This level of oversight is in some ways necessary to prevent threats like terrorism and violence, but it infringes on the rights of ordinary people everyday.

Another thing that is jeopardized is communication. Authoritarian regimes suppress means of communication when they feel the need to quell rebellions or temper resistant sentiment. Since most communication is currently monitored, it is also at risk of being easily and swiftly restricted—a right to which people should be entitled.

The humorous joke travels around the internet about everyone having an FBI agent watching through laptop cameras, and while people aren't monitoring our actions that way around the clock, the access is still available. I believe personal privacy should be respected, and there needs to be at the very least education and information about what is being monitored so that individuals know how to protect sensitive data and keep their lives private if they so choose.

There is no perfect system; we sacrifice certain rights in exchange for safety, but something also must be done to sustain an individual's right to privacy.

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In my opinion, communication online is one freedom that is threatened in the United States today. While government has a need to keep people safe, it also does not need to monitor all of social media based on the usage of a few key words or phrases that it believes are tied to violence or crime. There are already many government officials such as law enforcement in place in order to stop many crimes before they take place. While private citizens can be on the lookout for things they might think are harmful, I believe that it should not be the government's place to police Twitter and Facebook for things that may indicate impending crime. Law enforcement should use social media as evidence only if they have a warrant from a court.

Another freedom is the news media. Internet companies can slow down access to non-mainstream news sites or controversial pundits may be discriminated against in terms of Internet searches. While "fake news" is a concern, who is to say what is "fake"? I personally believe that the news media should be allowed to report as it wishes and the people themselves should demand credible sources for stories. Thus, government should not be involved in saying which news is "fake" and which is "real." The people should appreciate their freedom of the press enough to care about sources—government should not have to police the news as there is too much room for corruption.

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There are various areas where people’s rights and liberties are at risk of government intrusion. One of those areas is when people travel by airplane. Currently, in the United States, people need to give a great deal of personal information when planning to travel. Our bags are searched, our luggage is x-rayed, and the type of ticket and time that it was bought are closely analyzed. Many years ago, I was flying to get engaged to a woman who now is my wife. I carried the engagement ring with me through security. I was stopped and had to explain why I had the ring with me. While I viewed it as a minor inconvenience, I wasn’t too thrilled that I needed to explain to a TSA agent, a complete stranger, in public, that I was getting engaged. There should be a way to be able to declare what a person is carrying in a private manner so other passengers aren’t able to hear why somebody is bringing something onto an airplane. The same is true if somebody has a metallic implant in them. They should be able to go through security in a manner that doesn’t allow the public to hear about one’s medical conditions. Some expanded version of pre-TSA may be helpful in these situations.

Another area where people’s rights may be at risk is with communication by the Internet, by phone, or by text. It is very easy for government officials to monitor this kind of communication. There should be strict rules that need to be followed, and it should be fairly difficult for the government to get permission to monitor people’s communications and Internet activity. One reform would be to modify the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. If email were to be treated like regular postal mail, it would be more difficult for the police or for the government to get access to private, personal communications.

It is also very easy to track the movement of people. There are cameras everywhere people travel. Cameras on highways can help track a vehicle. When people use electronic devices to pay their tolls, they can be tracked. Cellphones report a person’s location, and some cameras on streets and within businesses, including government buildings, have facial recognition technology. All of these activities are done without a person’s consent and, in some cases, without a person’s knowledge. In some European countries, laws exist that protect against government surveillance and limit what kinds of data may be collected. There should also be limits on how long the information that has been gained can be stored and used.

It will be necessary for the court system to issue guidelines regarding these intrusions of our privacy. The courts need to be sure they safeguard the rights and the liberties that American citizens have based on the Constitution and the interpretation of the Constitution.

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