My list of human rights are as follows: Freedom of expression, enterprise, and speech, access to health care, access to education, and privacy. Our government is struggling with some of them, and it is soundly against the human right to privacy and has been for roughly the last fifteen or so years. And since that time, our government has decided that it is ethical to spy on its public.
They do this with the claim that they are protecting us. However, this is not an accurate observation, nor are domestic attacks on US soil big enough a threat to warrant the United States government to create groups that know what is best for citizens enough to see what they are doing. The Patriot Act of 2001 is the act that began this snowball effect. As you can observe in its Wikipedia page here, title II in this act allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to gain access to documents that reveal the activities of United States Citizens. They were able to do this via roving wiretaps and an action called “sneak and peek” warrants, which allows any law enforcer to search a person’s private premises without a warrant for their arrest. This act effectively eliminated the human right to privacy in the United States.
As mentioned previously, acts like this would be completely acceptable if the United States was full of violent revolutionaries who were planning a bloody revolution, or if the United States was full of violent members of its military who were planning a coup. However, the citizens and armed forces of the United States are not like this at all, at least not in the majority. Creating laws that violate their privacy is not only unnecessary, it is also unethical. As I mentioned before, privacy is a human right. Instead, our government should create laws that should be protecting its public by ensuring privacy. If they do this, citizens would trust and support its government one ounce more, and in a nation like the United States where the government is at large, it would help them tremendously.
According to this study, fewer people trust their government than ever. This number plummeted to the lows it now has only a few years after the Patriot Act was signed into law. If our lawmakers were able to create laws that could ensure the privacy of its citizens, the citizens would trust the government more, and the government would likely trust the citizens more. One thing that is commonly misunderstood about laws is that although they restrict some, they enable others. When the Patriot Act was signed into law, it enabled organizations such as the National Security Agency to spy on citizens, without giving the citizens the ability to do the same.
Although laws that protect the privacy of the citizens could possibly enable some citizens to perform certain atrocities that they would not able to perform under our current laws, the likelihood of these things happening to where national security would indeed be necessary is very low. As I mentioned previously, most United States citizens are not bloodthirsty revolutionaries who are gathering arms for a revolution. If our lawmakers can make the decision to create laws that ensure the privacy of the citizens, it would not only improve the nation’s general safety, but it would also improve the citizens’ trust in their government.