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HLSS508 Counter Terrorism and Homeland Security Discussion Response

Responses should be a minimum of 250 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.

Respond to Patrick:

Question 1: Information Technology and Privacy

Information technology is a double edged sword in that it has greatly benefited our society through computers and telecommunications, but it can also be used against us. The right to privacy is protected by the Fourth Amendment but it has been cast aside through the current capabilities of information technology. The current capabilities allow for intelligence agencies to monitor, track, and store an unlimited amount of information. With the information they are then able to analyze it and determine a set of patterns and behavior. “Technology plays a critical role in intelligence activities, enabling intelligence agencies to pursue their national security mission more effectively and efficiently” (Joel, 2010, p. 1751). The tension can only be resolved if intelligence agencies are restricted from spying on Americans when they do not pose a threat.

Question 2: Data Access and Electronic Accountability

Up to this point the nation has not been able to prevent the government from having access to data which is another reason to how this power infringes upon civil liberties. With the post 9/11 expanded powers granted to intelligence and law enforcement agencies, their analysis of data has been incorrect resulting in citizens being detained without due process. If they are going to continue to hold and use this power there must be better electronic accountability. The problem is, how they collect and use this information is not public knowledge leaving them to operate freely without oversight. Intelligence agencies need access to data monitoring to fill in security gaps that law enforcement cannot investigate (Joel, 2010).

Question 3: Privacy Protection and National Security

Technology facilitates the functionality and progression of our society but it can also be used against us. Technology gives the capability for our privacy to be monitored and infiltrated. The government’s goal is to protect its citizens from all forms of threats to include cyber. “Policymakers seek both to secure networks from cyber-threats, including cyber/espionage, attack, and crime, and to ensure open access to information” (Ammori & Poellet, 2010, p. 51). The debate is ongoing because the government sees that the only way to maintain security is through technology that may infringe upon civil liberties. Personal data collection is not only used by the government or our enemies but also the private sector. Major tech companies that operate social media platforms collect information and use target advertising based on your activity or sell the information to other companies.

Question 4: Balance between Security and Freedom

The balance and trade-offs between security and freedom is a topic we have discussed since the first week of class. The trade-offs are speculative in that the government’s current polices and security measures are in place to prevent threats and mitigate attacks. Both sides of the argument present merit but the degradation of freedom over potential security threats has real world consequences. Rajan and Gabriel (2015) argue that “Post-9/11 security measures have not only fostered a climate of xenophobia against non-White peoples of lower socio-economic status (i.e., African Americans), but also against individuals and communities designated as foreign” (p. 114). Degradation of freedom also comes with intelligence agencies use of information technology but policymakers are trying address cybersecurity and network neutrality (Ammori & Poellet, 2010).

Question 5: Civil Liberties vs National Security

The expanded powers that have been granted to law enforcement through counter-terrorism legislation like the USA Patriot Act were put in place to prevent terrorist attacks after 9/11. The passing of national security legislation has been influenced by the fear of another major terrorist attack. The overreaching methods have infringed upon civil liberties and restricted personal rights for the sake of national security. In this course we have covered topics that show a clear abuse of power in which many cases are unconstitutional but we have also covered the ways in which the government is trying to address the problems. The political system is based on checks and balances and the more we operate in the gray area using national security as justification will result in continued loss of civil liberties.

References

Ammori, M., & Poellet, K. (2010). “Security versus freedom” on the internet: Cybersecurity and net Neutrality1. The SAIS Review of International Affairs, 30(2), 51-65. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docv…

Joel, A. W. (2010). Choosing both: Making technology choices at the intersections of privacy and security. Texas Law Review, 88(7), 1751-1765. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docv…

Rajan, V., & Gabriel, J. (2015). Redefining US “homeland security” post-9/11: Extra-judicial

measures, vigilantism and xenophobia. Security Journal, 28(2), 109–149. doi:10.1057/sj.2015.3

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