Is Big Brother your Facebook friend?

Imagine a world where nothing is secret and everything you do on the Internet is monitored, kept under surveillance and stored as data. Remember that Skype chat you had last week? Or how about that Facebook conversation you had yesterday? Yes, it’s a chilling idea.

Federal law enforcement and national security officials want Congress to implement new “wiretap” regulations that would be able to intervene and reveal concealed messages. This order would apply to communication services such as e-mail channels like Blackberry, software that allows “peer to peer” messaging like Skype and social networks such as Facebook.

According to Monday’s report by The New York Times, the government’s reasoning is that “their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is ‘going dark’ as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.” The Obama administration has endorsed this and is planning to send in the bill to lawmakers next year.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook refused to discuss this major privacy change.

“Only Facebook would comment, if only generally, saying in a statement: ‘We will examine any proposal when and if it materializes but we can’t comment on something we haven’t seen. Generally, it’s our policy to only comply with valid, legal requests for data,’” the Times reported.

Trying to make Internet traffic function similarly to the telephone, the government wants to guarantee access to our use of the Internet when the need arises. Although its intention to prevent another terrorist attack is favorable, this regulation  violates both our privacy and free speech. This is surely not the Internet we envisioned.

It seems that when the government grows, an individual’s privacy becomes less of a concern. How much is too much power for the government? Does the government have our best interest and can they be trusted with access to our e-mail, conversations and data?

We understand the government needs its tools to carry out its duties. But this does not mean that our privacy should be sacrificed to make law enforcement’s and national security agencies job easier.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

September 29, 2010


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Is Big Brother your Facebook friend?”

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

The Miami Hurricanes, still waiting for a starting quarterback to be named, are in the top 25 again. ...

Happy first day of school for everyone out there, including the University of Miami students. We jus ...

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.