Privacy Versus Protection

With the construction of the new National Security Agencies (NSA) data center at Camp Williams, Utah, should Americans be concerned about their privacy? The new site contains roughly 100,000 square feet of computer banks and monitors more than 30 trillion emails a year that travel across the Internet in the U.S. According to insiders though, the government is not reading your e-mails so much as looking at the data, searching for activity that might ring alarm bells, according to an article on www.csmonitor.com.

Despite reassurances from the head of U.S. Cyber Command, General Keith Alexander, that cybersecurity and an individual’s right to privacy are not mutually exclusive, critics are still fearful of what the increasing focus on cyber warfare could mean for our country and the privacy rights of its citizens.

It is not too reassuring when citizens are told that the sheer amount of data involved precludes the close scrutiny of the e-mails originating in the U.S. The fact that the government has access to those e-mails is disconcerting enough. It is just a step away from developing a program that could sort e-mails by keywords, which is typically what is being done now.

Privacy is a basic American right, one that has been slipping further and further out of our grasp since before 9/11. Is the loss of freedoms we used to take for granted worth the extra security that our government is attempting to impart? On one hand, we ask those in congress or the senate to do something about protecting us as a nation from cyber attack. On the other hand, we complain about the government’s intrusion into our lives and the taking, albeit slowly, of our privacy. It’s a fine line.

For more information about the U.S. government and cyber defense, visit: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2012/0713/Cyberdefense-Should-Americans-be-concerned-about-their-privacy