Home > Our Products > ACLU and DOJ Trading Blows Over Online Privacy Issues

ACLU and DOJ Trading Blows Over Online Privacy Issues

The government has always been one of the bad guys in the online privacy war as they intrude into personal lives in the name of national security. But the ACLU or the American Civil Liberties Union has been lobbying against the government’s way of tackling issues regarding national security mainly because it compromises the online privacy of the users. You must now be aware of the fact that if the government has to access your emails, or listen to your phone calls, it must obtain a warrant which will not be issued unless the authorities establish suspicion legally.

But the government can track who you send the email to, who you call regularly, who you send SMSs to, etc. There is no need of a warrant to do all these. Along with this, they can also keep a tab on your social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which is also legal and can be done without a warrant, Per Se.

Indirect Tracking Is Also an Invasion of Privacy: ALCU

The ALCU is arguing that the tracking technique that the government has adopted now is also illegal and violates the privacy of the everyday internet user. When we look at the big picture, we can safely say that this claim is legitimate as the data with the Department of Justice (DOJ)can also be misappropriated. There have been a number of instances of where officials and agents have gone rouge and we can be fairly certain that it will happen in the future also. Another revelation of the ALCU justifies its claim. They have data which shows that the number of people being tracked indirectly has gone up exponentially over the past couple of years.

DOJ Claims That National Security Trumps These Issues

The standard retort that the department of justice has for these comments against their ‘trap and trace’ and ‘Pen Registers’ is that national security is above all these petty issues and this is a compromise the citizens will have to willingly make. This seems like a fair argument too if you look at the classified information of the number of terrorist attacks that have been stopped. According to some of them, more than half a dozen attack plots have been foiled before their intended executions. Obviously, anyone would trade their call logs for their head or car being blown to smithereens.

ECPA In Need Of Updating

According to the ALCU, the electronic communications privacy act or the ECPA is over 25 years old and this is high time that this law is amended. This law is the reason why the DOJ is able to snoop on calls and other channels of communication without a warrant. This law was formed at a time when the information regarding our lives were not as collated and quantified as it is today and keeping in mind today’s situation, even non-content monitoring should be made warranted.

Need To Find A Common Middle Ground On This Issue

When you look at the arguments on both sides, we seem to find that they are both reasonable. However, both issues cannot be neglected and online privacy is as important as national security. There will be some solution which will appease both parties and also ensure that the common man’s privacy and security is ensured. It is indeed worrisome for the everyday internet user to be tracked even after he/she stop cookies/tracking online.

It will only be a matter of time before a solution for this problem is established. However, it can only happen if both sides compromise a little for the sake of the common internet user. We will have to wait and see how this battle pans out and we can only hope for our sakes that it will  end as a draw.

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