General Question

john65pennington's avatar

Should the Federal Government be granted authority to tap your email and Facebook accounts?

Asked by john65pennington (29057 points ) September 28th, 2010

The Federal Government now wants authority to tap your email, Facebook and other internet accounts. I can understand their reasoning behind this intrusion…......maybe. It’s mainly for National Security to check on terrorists and criminal activities that effect the safety of all Americans. I have mixed feelings about this and just how this information will be used. Question: What’s your opinion of The Federal Government wanting to invade our personal email accounts?

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27 Answers

Deja_vu's avatar

No way! That’s fu@ked up! This is America! We have rights! Geez, I didn’t hear about that. Not that I have anything to worry about. It just makes me think “What’s next?”

dkranzberg's avatar

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
-Benjamin Franklin

poisonedantidote's avatar

Only if the public gets to tap in to government emails to make sure none of them are corrupt.

Blueroses's avatar

I have a sneaking read, paranoid suspicion that this is already in place. Simply modify Google’s ad targeting program a bit and feed the keywords to the interested party. Nothing is private.

SuperMouse's avatar

Absolutely not. There is no way at all the government should allowed to pry into anyone’s private email, facebook, google searches, or anything else. Period. Frankly I would tend to agree with @Blueroses and would not be the least bit surprised if they are already doing this in one form or another.

augustlan's avatar

Not without a warrant issued due to reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

thekoukoureport's avatar

Your right blueroses it’s already in place. This “interweb” afterall was designed and implemented by the US government. So to think that you have absolute privacy is a joke.
With cameras connected to computers throughout our home broadcasting worldwide we are spying on ourselves. The looney ones(like me) have already painted a target by taking a position (for or against) on the government. Most of you who remain anonymous will never have to worry about this type of intrusion. Cause most people are good by nature.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

john65pennington's avatar

I agree with some of your answers that the Federal Government tapping is already in place and probably has been for years. but now, they need to make it legal, if they are really going after the terrorists and other criminal activity conducted over the internet. its just to make it legal in case they make arrests and have no law to back their tapping for evidence.

tedd's avatar

Agree they shouldn’t be allowed to.

But you’re blind or willfully stupid if you think they haven’t been doing it for years.

cazzie's avatar

They should NOT be allowed to. It should be the same as any other private property. They would need a signed warrant by a judge with specifics named as to what they have a right under that warrant to look at.

mrentropy's avatar

They already filter all the e-mail. But, no, they shouldn’t have the authority. If they start doing it anyway they should be hanged for treason.

Seek's avatar

The fact that they have already done it does not make it acceptable.

Fine, so they can read your email. The point is, as of now none of that information is admissible in court and cannot be used against you without a warrant. This needs to stay that way.

mrentropy's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Not being admissible in court is all well and good. However, the “Patriot” act does a good job of making courts unnecessary.

Seek's avatar

This is true. However, patriot act aside, I’d much rather not have a cop show up on my door arresting me for drug dealing because I sent an email chain letter about Cheech and Chong’s newest movie.

everephebe's avatar

Should the Federal Government be granted authority to tap your email and Facebook accounts? No, of course not. But they do it already without the authority, so… moot.

robmandu's avatar

My understanding is that the government wants the ability to tap the content directly before encryption via the normal search/wiretap warrant process.

Right now, if the FBI, for example, were to issue a wiretap subpoena to Research in Motion for the communications off of your Blackberry, RIM would comply by handing over the raw encrypted stream of traffic (which is all that they themselves see… the encryption is done on your Blackberry and then decrypted at the recipient’s end). That’s not of much use to law enforcement as the encryption used is pretty strong stuff and can withstand brute-force cracking for a long time.

So this is just about requiring companies that use powerful encryption to secure communications to also insert a backdoor for use by law enforcement.

This is more of a bad idea from a systems security perspective. From a Constitutional viewpoint, the government isn’t really trying to get at anything more than they enjoy for other (unencrypted) communication channels.

The New York Times provides a pretty good explanation.

cockswain's avatar

No, not cool.

Nullo's avatar

No, no, and no. I would sooner eat my dog.
I’m a bit upset that they think that it is right for them to keep tabs on everybody. Small government, people!

cazzie's avatar

Reasonable government, people. Small doesn’t mean they’re useful or efficient. WTH.

Blueroses's avatar

My friend works in military intelligence intercepting and monitoring all communications of suspected “targets”. Mainly drug and human traffickers. Does the government have a warrant or permission of the targets? Not so much.
Are there some repugnant criminals who we should try to get off the streets regardless of their “rights”? Maybe. But it seems we’re being lulled into complacency of losing our privacy being told, “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. We aren’t randomly getting off on your cybersex. We’re only after the bad guys.”
That feels like a very short step to making you a viable target when it’s decided that something new is bad.
We need to keep our watchdogs in check.

Nullo's avatar

@cazzie I considered that. I don’t know that I want the federal government to be efficient. That is, after all, the purpose of the oft-compromised system of checks and balances built in by the founders. It doesn’t have to be terribly useful, either – we have other layers of government, too. Constitutionally, the role of the Federal government is essentially limited to mediating between the States and between the nation and the world. People being what they are, they finagled more authority than is actually due to them.
If you think that the present mess is efficient, you haven’t been paying attention.

cazzie's avatar

@Nullo you said ‘government’ ..not federal government. And I never said the present system was efficient. It’s been broken for decades. In the US.

Nullo's avatar

@cazzie The question said “federal government.” I thought that the context would carry over. For the record, I am similarly against the state government having unquestioned access to my information.

robmandu's avatar

Bruce Schneier gives a good overview of the real risks involved. One example in particular:

The most serious known misuse of a telecommunications surveillance infrastructure took place in Greece. Between June 2004 and March 2005, someone wiretapped more than 100 cell phones belonging to members of the Greek government—the prime minister and the ministers of defense, foreign affairs and justice—and other prominent people. Ericsson built this wiretapping capability into Vodafone’s products, but enabled it only for governments that requested it. Greece wasn’t one of those governments, but some still unknown party—a rival political group? organized crime?—figured out how to surreptitiously turn the feature on.

mattbrowne's avatar

No. This is why we got the separation of powers, which is a model for the governance of both democratic & federative states. The model was first developed in ancient Greece. The normal division of branches is into an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers

Governments are part of the executive branch. Tapping emails should only be allowed for specific cases with probable cause and the necessary approval of a judge for a special type of search warrant. And warrants are typically issued by courts and are directed to the sheriff, constable or a police officer.

shellbaby242529's avatar

I think that they should have something set up to protect children from pedophiles but not to go through every ones accounts. I’m sure that they are already have something in place but they should need warrants to get information on none criminals but those with any type of felony should be investigated.

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