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Home Issue Index Issue: Internet

Internet

Pro/Con Articles

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

U.S. intelligence agencies must have the freedom to quickly gather information about potential terrorist threats in order to prevent new attacks. Since securing a warrant is a time-consuming process, U.S. intelligence agencies should have the power to monitor communications between Americans and foreigners suspected of terrorist connections without first seeking court approval.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

By implementing a warrantless surveillance program aimed at American citizens, the president is violating the public's constitutional right to privacy. In order to ensure that domestic spying activity complies with existing federal law, U.S. intelligence agencies must obtain warrants if they want to eavesdrop on Americans' phone calls or e-mail.

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

Telecommunications technology has become so complex as to be beyond the reach of ordinary electronic surveillance, hindering investigations and making the monitoring of criminals and terrorist networks exceedingly difficult. Additionally, terrorists have been known to use peer-to-peer systems and Internet telephone connections to communicate. As a result, it is critical to act quickly by providing the government with greater access to online communications before terrorists use the Internet to plan and execute additional attacks.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

Allowing the government unrestricted access to e-mail servers, social networking sites, and peer-to-peer communication systems threatens the privacy of the American people and violates the Fourth Amendment. In addition, reworking software to allow the government to intercept private communications could make that software vulnerable to computer hackers and cyber criminals.

SUPPORTERS ARGUE

Blogging allows people to express views and write about issues that are seldom covered by the mainstream media. Anyone with access to a computer and the Internet can start a blog and voice his or her ideas and opinions, making blogging the ultimate democratic medium. Bloggers have pushed the mainstream media to cover stories that might otherwise be ignored.

OPPONENTS ARGUE

Blogs are unreliable sources of information and cannot be described as "journalism." The partisan nature of blogs has a deleterious effect on political discourse in the United States. Most blogs also provide little, if any, original reporting and are lightly edited, if edited at all. Therefore, it is a stretch to call blogs real journalism.