Coleman's expressions

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Privacy Issues

Anyone following the “domestic spying” controversy in the national news?  As I understand it, the Bush administration is defending the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping on cell phone conversations and e-mail communication as a requirement for an effective fight against terrorism.  As reported by Eggen and Pinkus (January 24, 2006) in the Washington Post, the spying “did not constitute a ‘driftnet’ over U.S. cities.”   I wonder if blogs are included in their “spying”?  And, if they are, I would guess that would not be an invasion of privacy as the argument against “spying” on cell phone conversations and e-mail communications since the blogs are considered “public.” Will that have any impact on our use of blogs in education? Comments?  

Also consider another privacy issue:  The Department of Justice asked search engines to submit their search engine records and most complied.  Google did not submit their records and now the DOJ is asking for a court order.  DOJ’s justification relates to the Child Online Protection Act, while Google’s defense is that it not only needs to protect the privacy of its users, but also the user information provides them confidential information for improving their product. For more information, link to Mercury News and an update from Search Engine Watch.  

The issue of privacy has always been an important one and inevitably returns to the need for balance.  The current affairs indicate to me that not only is this a good concept to introduce and discuss with our learners, but also serves as a “real life” application!


  • Marie – You are right on!! I have been struggling to better understand this issue. Blogs can certainly be public venues but you can also set them up to be viewed by only select individuals. (See Blogger settings) if you are interested. I have mixed feels about eavesdropping. It certainly seems to be a violation of privacy, however, terrorists don’t play by any rules. My little brother is part of the Homeland Security Team at the Canadian border in Buffalo. The stories he tells absolutely floor and scare me. I know would love to hear what other think about this area and to learn about resources we can use to help inform our opinions. Thanks –KD ☺

    By Blogger Kara Dawson, at 1/26/2006 9:58 AM  

  • Marie,

    You've brought up an interesting topic here. The whole issue of privacy vs. security is of great concern in today's world. How much should the government be allowed to see/hear, before it becomes an invasion of privacy.

    As a person interested in making sure our country is safe, my first reaction is always one of I don't care if they check out my internet surfing, listen to my phone conversations, or check my emails, because I have nothing to hide. Then I stop & really think about that idea. Do I want someone to know everything I say & who I say it to? That whole idea is even a little scary. It reminds me of the whole "Big Brother is watching" idea.
    The whole email idea actually hits home with me. My husband has a colleague who is a muslim. Oh, I forgot to mention he is an airline pilot. Shortly after 9/11, he was investigated by the government & feels very strongly that his privacy was invaded. He was singled out among all of the other airline pilots, because he is muslim. I wonder how many of his phone converstions/emails the government continues to check. Anyway, he & my husband (a christian) regularly discuss religion & religious issues. They do this often via email. How closely is the government now checking on my family? I wonder....

    By Blogger kim hanson, at 1/27/2006 8:51 AM  

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