With less than a month to go before the Congress must decide whether to renew a portion of the Patriot Act, the controversial domestic surveillance program, it appears a majority of Americans favor letting the program expire.
Under the National Security Agency, NSA, program, government agencies can collect data from Americas’ telephone conversations. Legislation approved last week by the House would change that practice, requiring the agencies to instead rely on information stored by telephone companies, and to get a court order to gain access to the data.
There is less support in the Senate, however, for the change.
Some people may believe the practice to be harmless and something that should not concern people who have done nothing wrong. They support giving up personal freedom and privacy rights if it “makes us safer.”
Government agencies, including the NSA, should be required to present a compelling argument for why they need to access the data before being granted a court order to get it.
The NSA says it doesn’t spy on individual calls and has not had the need to access the information for now, so why give them blanket authority to get it based on what could happen?
Americans once cherished their right to be free from government spying and intrusion into their private lives. That all changed with passage of the Patriot Act in the wake of the fear raised by the terrorists attacks on 9/11.
We have to wonder what those who sacrificed their lives to protect this very freedom would think of the Patriot Act. Would they regret their sacrifice?
This weekend the country will observe Memorial Day, a day to celebrate the sacrifices made by those defending our freedoms.
It’s a good time for all Americans to give thought to these compelling questions, and to remember the immortal words of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.”Posted - Copyright © 2022 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.