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Do We Have a Right to Internet Privacy or an Obligation to Disclosure?

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Many in America are speaking of how the right to privacy is being assaulted by FaceBook and other social media sites who have agreed to allow the monitoring of their users' posts by government agencies.   Though these actions do stir the mind of anyone wishing our nation was more just and our freedoms weren't being ripped apart one by one by nationalistic paranoia and religious revivalism, if one spends a moment to consider the issue in full, a few questions arise that beg to be answered: Do we actually have a right to privacy in a public forum and should fight to protect said freedom or should we be willingly allowing and supporting the efforts of our government to watch us for the sake of National Security?

 

These questions came to mind after reading a post on my own FaceBook page concerning a petition drive entitled, Tell the ITU: The Internet Belongs to Us .   The petition asks that we all stand against the International Telecommunications Union's plan to control the internet. These plans reportedly include "giving countries full control over the information and communication infrastructure within their state" and "license to inspect private e-mail".   Fees have also been suggested which "would limit our ability to access sites like Google and FaceBook." The site asks readers to sign the petition to stop the Union from controlling our avenues of communication.   Whether it would help in any way to sign said petition is a matter for conjecture but the issue is disturbing, nonetheless.

 

The first reaction most freedom loving people have to this reality is one of frustration. They are not terrorists so why are they being "watched" and why is information being controlled or kept from them? To members of a nation concerned about their government's leaning toward an ever increasing Police State, moves to control and contain our increasing dissatisfaction with their form of "representation", causes great concern.   After all, we are supposed to be a free nation, right?   We are supposed to be a Democratic Republic, represented by a government for the people; not against them.  

 

The powers that be though, have taken notice of how the Libyan riots and other, "Arab Spring" protests were orchestrated by FaceBook interaction so it would reasonably stand they would want to control that interaction to avoid any further rebellion. To this end, many nations including the United States, are actively trying to implement programs to increase their power to monitor all sites for "anti-patriotic" activities and are collaborating to take complete control of the internet.

 

In places like Syria or North Korea, one would expect a certain amount of censorship but now that America is adopting the same intrusive policies, the reality of our devolving into a lesser system of rule has become apparent.   The sad truth is, any paranoid government which fears backlash from its own actions would monitor its people to keep them from protesting said action. Given America's military policies of the past eleven years, expecting our government to not embrace the policy of monitoring We the People for the protection and proliferation of their militaristic rule, is naïve at best.

 

Welcome to Reality

Try as you might to convince yourself that the Internet is "ours", the reality is quite the opposite.   The internet is wholly owned by corporations through which our ability to search topics, interact with each other electronically and perform our jobs, is channeled.   It is not a private entity where if our messages are read we have somehow become victims of intrusion into our private lives. Comments and activities within this corporate arena are essentially owned and therefore, open to sharing and censorship by those who control the site.   Though it is discomforting to think postings are being used to profile users, the reality is that we have no right to privacy within a "public" forum.   Posting words or articles on social media and expecting them to stay private is akin to standing in a public square, yelling out obscenities but thinking only your friends across the way can hear you.

 

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http://www.spaulforrest.com
Steven Forrest is a Project Architect living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Currently, he is working to implement Green Building initiatives in several communities across Florida. Given the current situation in America and the continued (more...)
 

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