The story on the NSA spying controversy is turning to the courts. Many view a Supreme Court review of the NSA and other spy agencies activities as an important step in resolving the national security/civil liberties conflict of interests. In truth, any decision is far from the end of the debate. If the American People want their freedoms and rights protected then they need to stand up for them by petitioning their elected officials to review and curtail the activities of our national apparatus. Doing so may even require the passage of a Constitutional Amendment, but we cannot expect our democratic rights and freedoms to be respected unless we are willing to demand them.
That said, the Supreme Court may well rule in either direction should the issue reach our highest court. Our security officials are very smart and clever, so they likely stayed within the technical limits of the Law, though the laws on the books could be a violation of our Constitutional protections. More importantly, we live in a day and age where an individual must share personal information and activities with third parties, such email services, internet providers, etc, in order to exist in our modern society. (Even if they are just collecting data and not reviewing it, it is still a violation of your privacy.)
One of the main arguments our courts are facing is whether previous standards for a reasonable right to privacy need to be tightened by the Supreme Court, i.e. spy agencies should not be able to legally collect data from third parties without a court order. Because you cannot live today without surrendering your personal information to third parties like phone and internet companies, we face a false choice where a legal standard, which allows the NSA and other spy agencies to freely collect data from third parties, means you must sacrifice a reasonable right to privacy. In truth, this is more and more becoming reality thanks to ongoing technological advances.
To live or enjoy a basic right to privacy isolated from the world is not an acceptable choice while it certainly does not honor the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Consequently, the Supreme Court must eventually recognize the need to revise previous court decisions and standards. In tandem, our Legislators need to do the same thing. It is one thing for corporations to deny users a privacy standard in the wake of weak regulation, but governments must protect the rights of citizens. As such, they are the ones who should be advancing standards for privacy, not arguing privacy should be suspended when they want to collect every piece of data on every person for potential review.
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