Security vs. Freedom

It’s no doubt that we live in a more dangers world today then we did a few years ago, or that the danger that was always there is just more visible to us. After the attacks of September 11th 2001 I believe a lot of Americans realized what “could” happen and the possibilities scared many. It’s at this point when something needed to be done. However, what was done, and what continues to be done in the name of national security now scares me more then the terrorist attacks did in 2001. Starting with the patriot act the government took it upon themselves to decide what rights where important and what rights where not important and when those powers can be used. This not only hurt the freedom we enjoy in America but it means the terrorists got there way, plain and simple the attack worked, it changed us.

It’s been eleven years since that horrifying September morning when this country lost 2,996 Fathers, Mothers, Children, and Rescue Personnel. What do we have today to show for those deaths by cowardice fundamentalists? We have vastly less freedom, and constant attacks on our civil liberties, in there name. I find something wrong with that. I like to think back at the comradely and pride in country that took place after the September 11th attacks. Photos with neighborhoods where each house had the American flag proudly flying in there front yard, People in New York actually being nice to each other for a change, and sympathetic American citizens from all over the nation rushing to blood banks doing whatever they could to help. This is the America I’m proud of, this is the country how I see it.

However, America is a different place today. Eleven years later, what happened? It seams like every day a new bill goes though congress in the name of national security. It has become a token phrase to incite fear and urgency to a problem that doesn’t exist. We have given up judicial process in the name of protecting the country from what? Its own citizens? What ever happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave? What happened to the constitution? A funny thing happened to me a few months ago. I picked my daughter up from school and she had been written up for saying she liked a boy. She is twelve years old and her teacher punished her because she didn’t like the fact that my daughter found another boy in her class attractive. Don’t get me wrong it horrified me that my little girl was starting to look at boys. However, what happened to her first amendment rights? Doesn’t saying you like a boy fall under the right to free speech? I called the school to complain and as I was defending my daughters constitutional rights I felt like a putz, you know like some kind of fundamentalist. It bothered me all day long. At what point did it become a shameful act to defend the constitution. Many, many people have given the ultimate sacrifice for that exact right! It deeply upset me! However, it’s true. In today’s America it seams more important to defend security then freedom. I recall a quote from a great man that stated “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither”. This great man not only had his name on the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence but he was also our sixth president. It was Benjamin Franklin and that quote wasn’t just symbolic, it’s was a warning. It meant that without freedom security doesn’t matter.

The newest threat to our freedom lies in cyber security. The government wants to convince us that the cyber security threat is more important then our civil liberties. For this they want to have control over how we use the internet as well as the ability to take sites off the internet at there discretion. Many people don’t know this but part of the 5th amendment almost didn’t exist. The 5th amendment ends with these two lines. “…. nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”. I bet you can’t guess who demanded these lines be added to the 5th amendment. If you have been paying attention then your right, it was Benjamin Franklin. He warned that without judicial process Americans would have no liberty, and no freedom. This is because government would eventually take all of there freedoms away. But why and for what? Again, you guest it, for security. Its starting to make since now isn’t it?

The government claims that it needs the legal rights to circumvent judicial process in the name of national security. There have been many bills pass though congress that used this same excuse. There have also been many that have failed because they went too far to fast. Like SOPA or PIPA the two IP bills that tried to get the government in control of DNS filtering without due process. Or the latest CISPA. Since all three of these bills failed to get though congress due to American outrage the Obama administration bypassed Congress and passed a bill though executive order. So now they don't even need congress to take our rights away. These bills don’t protect national security, they protect content owners. So now we are giving up our civil liberties in the name of national security but it’s actually meant to stop people from downloading music. WHAT!!!!, are you kidding me!!!, And we don't even have a say!!!

The government claims that we need to protect SCADA systems that run critical infrastructure from worms like Stuxnet and other threats. The thing that they don't tell you is that the Stuxnet worm was created by the US government in a collaborated effort with Israel to attack the SCADA systems in the Iranian nuclear facilities. I find that point quite funny, especially since “they” are the ones who use the example, not me. Another blatant flaw is they consider security vulnerabilities and attacks on the system the same thing. They call it multiple sources, like the attackers are the ones creating the security vulnerabilities. I think this definition reflects the actual problem. It was all over the news a few years ago that a water utility was accessed remotely without authorization and a water pump was burned out. However, this access turned out to be authorized and the pump failure a coincidence. It was an official abroad that accessed the system and set off alarms. The investigation that followed found unbelievably bad security. It even found SCADA systems that still used there default password that was set by the manufacturer. I’m starting to see a solution to the problem that doesn’t affect our civil liberties. Why not create a bill that forces state and local utility companies be responsible for security. That seams to easy, and as far as the government is concerned FREE!!

We live in a scared nation. The attacks on September 11th are still fresh in our head. What makes September 11th so much different then other military attacks like Pearl Harbor is that they didn’t target a military complex. They attacked and killed innocent American citizens that where just going to work. People relate to that in a horrifying way. However, we can’t let that devastating attack on our country change our way of life! Think about the children left behind by September 11th, would there parents want there death to fundamentally change there children’s way of life. Let’s not let the terrorists win. Let’s stand up for our freedom. Remember, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”.

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