Security at the Expense of Privacy?

I listen to Leo Laporte´s TWiT netcasts regularly and I recently heard something on TWiT #154 that got me thinking about our privacy in this day and age of fear of terrorism. For your reference, federal agents can now confiscate laptops or any other electronic device without any suspicion of wrongdoing. This is obviously unconstitutional and a violation of privacy. But, with security checks so tight now and with the public´s fear of terrorism, how far are people willing to let their privacy be compromised in the name of security?

Sometime right after 9/11 happened, I remember hearing about a survey that was taken among Americans. The issue that was polled was whether people were willing to let their personal records be checked if there was any kind of suspicion of terrorism. Most people who took the survey said they were willing to let their personal records be checked.

I´m sure you see where I´m going with this. What´s to stop federal security agents from searching not just your personal records, but everything you own? And once the agents have all of your information, what will happen to it? Some would argue the government and security agencies already have all of our private information and this may or may not be true. But with laptop confiscations no longer being based on suspicion, it seems like our privacy is systematically being eliminated.

I want to feel safe as much as anybody and I realize that all the security checks we have now are necessary, but I really hope we are careful how much of our privacy we choose to give away. Freedom and privacy are inextricably linked and once we loose our privacy, how far behind will our freedom be?


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