Wk 10 Ethics Discussion With Student Response

The USA PATRIOT Act is an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. It was passed in October 2001, following the September 11 terrorist attacks, and was reauthorized in 2006. In 2011, it was extended by U.S. president Barack Obama for another four years. The act permits federal agents to search homes and offices, bank accounts, and medical and library records, use wire taps, and read people’s e-mail without their permission. Shortly after the act was passed, more than 1,000 Arab and Muslim men were arrested as terrorist suspects. Many were held without being told the charges against them.

In 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed nine legal challenges against the PATRIOT Act, arguing that the act violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which permits searches only with a warrant. Supporters of the act point out that it does not make sense to warn possible terrorists that they will be subject to search and seizure. However, it is the potential for abuse that worries civil libertarians. Several colleges have protested the act, arguing that it infringes on academic freedom and privacy rights. More than 150 local governments, including at least three state governments, have passed resolutions condemning the PATIOT Act as an infringement on civil rights (Boss, 1, p. 406).

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Ben Franklin once said that those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither. Is his position realistic in today’s world?
Does the PATRIOT Act propose a threat to our civil liberties, or does it work to protect our civil liberties?
1. Judith Boss. 2020. Analyzing Moral Issues (7th ed.). McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Reply to this student post as well

Hello Professor and Classmates

Ben Franklin once said that those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither. Is his position realistic in today’s world?

This would suggest we compromise some freedom (in any event Franklin would almost certainly have seen it as unimportant) so as to get a lot of long haul security, which may even incorporate an alternate kind of freedom. I would say it’s unrealistic in today’s world given the unrest around how some cultures are treated differently. Innocent people are often treated like criminals having their liberties dismissed for the sake of security.
Does the PATRIOT Act propose a threat to our civil liberties, or does it work to protect our civil liberties?

Hastily passed 45 days after 9/11 in the name of national security, the Patriot Act was the first of many changes to surveillance laws that made it easier for the government to spy on ordinary Americans by expanding the authority to monitor phone and email communications, collect bank and credit reporting records, and track the activity of innocent Americans on the Internet. While most Americans think it was created to catch terrorists, the Patriot Act actually turns regular citizens into suspects. What this really means is no one has privacy anymore. Sneak peek orders allow federal law enforcement to delay giving notice to conduct searches home or office, it does not require  NSL info to be destroyed even if it concerns innocent Americans. This is abuse of privacy for computers, phone records, credit card info, banking.

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