Sunday, December 1, 2019
Phone Tapping Essay Example
Phone Tapping Paper A Characteristic of OrwellÃ¢â¬â¢s Big Brother? Communication makes the world what it is. Without communication, people would virtually be in total isolation from one another and with events around the world. Telephones play an integral role in providing this much-needed communication. Telephones also permit people the freedom to say what they wish to others on a confidential basis, without any risk of witnesses. This freedom allows releases that many people believe no one can take away. Most people take this freedom for granted and overlook the fact that the government can, under certain restricted conditions, take it away by phone tapping. Phone tapping is the secret monitoring of a conversation by a third party. Where some may argue that phone tapping is necessary, that argument is misleading and incorrect in many aspects. Many argue that phone tapping is an invasion of privacy. Nowhere in the Constitution is the word privacy mentioned, implying that, Ã¢â¬Å"Privacy is a value or ideal in society,Ã¢â¬ (McCloskey) but not a right. This is one argument in support of phone tapping. While some claim that the Constitution supports this argument, sections of the Constitution actually provide reasons why this argument is incorrect (Browne). Those guidelines imply that Americans have the right to privacy, because there would be no point for laws to protect privacy if privacy was not a right. However, the Bill of Rights does not explicitly say the word privacy but it implies and defends privacy within multiple amendments including the Fourth and the Tenth. The Fourth Amendment clearly states, Ã¢â¬Å"Without probable cause and a search warrant, the government cannot search or seize your house or belongings. Ã¢â¬ (United States Constitution. ). The right to not to have oneÃ¢â¬â¢s personal property and belongings searched, is a guideline that defines privacy. We will write a custom essay sample on Phone Tapping specifically for you for only $16.38 $13.9/page Order now We will write a custom essay sample on Phone Tapping specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer We will write a custom essay sample on Phone Tapping specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer The Tenth Amendment states, Ã¢â¬Å"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, or to the people. Ã¢â¬ (United States Constitution. ). This means the government has no power or right to invade our privacy or do anything that it not specifically sanctioned in the Constitution (Browne). Therefore, concerning the invasion of privacy by phone tapping, the government has no right under any circumstances to tap any phone for any means without probable cause. Government phone tapping is said to be a key approach to staying one-step ahead of criminals and terrorists (Ã¢â¬Å"Bush Defends. Ã¢â¬ ). The major problem with this argument is the enemy usually is too smart for phone tapping! Most often, terrorists and criminals are able to devise huge schemes to break the law without being caught. It is rather naive to assume that simple phone tapping will put roadblocks in their plans. Criminals and terrorists sometimes know the governmentÃ¢â¬â¢s plans and often they are aware of what the government is trying to do to discover their criminal acts and terroristic plots (Levy). For example, most terrorists and criminals assume their home phones are tapped and therefore they do not use them to plan their attacks or crimes (Finder). If phone calls need to be made, they normally are made off the premises or in public places. Therefore, phone tapping is too elementary to counteract their plans. Getting a court order to phone tap every public phone, for the possibility that a terrorist may use it, is quite trivial because that possibility is hardly probable enough to gain multiple phone tapping warrants (Hollingsworth and Mayes). When a phone is tapped, someone has to listen to every conversation, carefully listening for suspicious details or plans. This takes bodies away from more promising and pressing leads that quite possibly could uncover corrupt and illegal plans. In turn this actually results in phone tapping possibly aiding in criminal acts as opposed to hindering them (Levy). This idea that phone tapping aids in staying ahead of the criminals is too nominal to be considered an argument. It seems that the government is desperate to defend phone tapping so it devised this argument. Furthermore, the results that government sponsored phone-tapping produce are so marginal, it seems that spending time and money on it is futile (Levy). The government taps phones to discover evidence about a certain topic. Data mining is a system that aids in phone tapping: once a phone is tapped, all the conversations are data-mined to show trends which the government analyzes to decipher which phone records to dissect (Levy). The evidence discovered by data-mining and phone tapping only leads to more leads, meaning that intercepting evidence may identify a criminal or a suspect but most often does not lead any to incriminating evidence (Morgan and Padley). This poses a major problem. The government cannot risk picking which lead to pursue or not to pursue, and consequently they have to pursue every lead. This is extremely time consuming and if the lead turns out to be a dead end, all that time and money was wasted (Levy). Government phone tapping has so many drawbacks, is it not worth the trouble when the results barely ever produce incriminating evidence. The only legal way for the government to tap a phone is to obtain judicial authorization through a warrant (Gittlen). This system mandates collaboration between the National Security Agency and the federal courts, and forces the agency to have reasonable, coherent evidence to obtain the warrant as stated in a law developed in 1978 (Ashenfelter). Besides the National Security Agency and the judicial branch, communication companies are also involved in phone tapping. Legally, communication companies must aid in government phone taps when presented with a warrant (Ashenfelter). While communication companies are required by law to assist in warranted phone tapping, some phone companies have been assisting in phone tapping regardless of the presence of a warrant, claiming it is better to help them then to let the government do the tapping themselves (Gittlen). A serious question arises when an issue of national security is involved as to whether the government should be allowed to tap a telephone without first getting judicial authorization. The governmentÃ¢â¬â¢s most simple, but most crucial job is to protect its people and their rights at all costs. Currently, the United States is fighting a war on terrorism which threatens those rights. If the government is fighting to preserve those rights, how can the government rationalize encroaching or even suspending our basic rights for periods of time to guarantee their survival (Stephen)? The governmentÃ¢â¬â¢s own actions are conflicting with our basic rights which is what our country is supposedly fighting to defend (Finder). How can the government fight actions that threaten national security, when they themselves are doing the same things? The freedoms promised by the Constitution need to be present and permitted at all times. Subsequently, phone tapping encroaches on those freedoms making it unconstitutional. The claim that the suspension of our basic rights to ensure their survival is pure fabrication. Government phone tapping is an issue that has numerous aspects to it. As with all arguments, many people quickly judge without looking at the big picture. However, experts on the subject can see that phone tapping is both unnecessary and unconstitutional. Phone conversations are something that are held sacred to the public and are a basic right according to the Constitution. Under no circumstance, even desperation is the government allowed to break its laws. Works Cited Ashenfelter, David, comp. Bushs Wiretap Program Gets a Weeks Reprieve. Detroit Free Press 28 Sept. 2006, sec. DN. LexisNexis Academic. McClatchy-Tribune News Service. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. 22 Mar. 2007. Browne, Harry. Does the Constitution Contain a Right to Privacy? 9 May 2003. Google Scholar. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. 22 Mar. 2007. Keyword: Phone tapping Privacy. Bush Defends Phone-Tapping Policy. BBC News. 19 Dec. 2005. 27 Mar. 2007 . Finder, Joseph. Tap Dance. The New Republic os 215 (1996): 14+. Wilson Web. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. 22 Mar. 2007. Keyword: government phone tapping. Gittlen, Sandra. How Do the Feds Tap Phone Lines? Network World 13 Feb. 2006. Google Scholar. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. 25 Mar. 2007. Keyword: federal phone tapping. Hollingsworth, Mark, and Tessa Mayes, comps. The Case is Notable for One Thing He Got Caught. The Guardian (London) 19 Mar. 2007, Final ed. : 8. LexisNexis Academic. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Levy, Stephen. Only the Beginning? Newsweek 22 May 2006: 33. Wilson Web. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. 25 Mar. 2007. Keyword: Phone Tapping National Security. McCloskey, H J. The Political Ideal of Privacy. The Philosophical Quarterly 21 (1971): 303- 314. JSTOR. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. 24 Mar. 2007. Keyword: phone tapping. Morgan, Vivienne, and Ben Padley, comps. Using Phone-Tap Evidence Would Increase Convictions' The Press Association Limited 16 Mar. 2007, sec. PN. LexisNexis Academic. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. 22 Mar. 2007. Keyword: government phone tapping. Stephen, Andrew. A Nation Left Unprotected. New Statesman 5 Nov. 2001: 13-14. Wilson Web. Marywood University. 22 Mar. 2007. Keyword: Federal Phone Tapping. United States Constitution. Legal Information Institute. 2006. Cornell Law School. 25 Mar. 2007.