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Civil Liberties: A Closer Look. Homeland Security or Big Brother?. Actor: National Security Agency. Homeland Security or Big Brother?. Conflict: PATRIOT ACT: Violation of Civil Liberties: Right to Privacy / Right to be let alone

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civil liberties a closer look

Civil Liberties: A Closer Look

Homeland Security or Big Brother?

Actor: National Security Agency

homeland security or big brother
Homeland Security or Big Brother?

Conflict: PATRIOT ACT:

Violation of Civil Liberties: Right to Privacy/Right to be let alone

Focus: U.S. Domestic electronic surveillance of American and Non-American citizens

Author: National Security Agency


Justice Dept. Investigating Leak of NSA Wiretapping Probe Seeks Source Of Classified Data - By Dan Eggen, Washington Post Staff WriterSaturday, December 31, 2005; Page A01

“The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into recent disclosures about a controversial domestic eavesdropping program that was secretly authorized by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, officials said yesterday.”1


Slouching Towards Big Brother

By Bruce Schneier

“CNET, January 30, 2004 - The litany continues. CAPPS-II, the government's vast computerized system for probing the backgrounds of all passengers boarding flights, will be fielded this year. Total Information Awareness, a program that would link diverse databases and allow the FBI to collate information on all Americans, was halted at the federal level after a huge public outcry, but is continuing at a state level with federal funding. Over New Year's, the FBI collected the names of 260,000 people staying at Las Vegas hotels. More and more, at every level of society, the "Big Brother is watching you" style of total surveillance is slowly becoming a reality.”2


Advanced Technology

Advanced technology has taken this country in the words of the TV show Star Trek to “places where no man has gone before.” 3 The development of advanced technology has enabled our country to be more competitive in various areas of industry, communications, education and etc. Equally, advanced technology has earned our government the reputation of one not to be easily challenged.

However, with advanced technology come concerns for civil liberties, largely impacted by the PATRIOT ACT Law. While there are many concerns relative to the recent law, this presentation only focuses on the current surveillance issue. The surveillance portion of the law is an issue because the federal government is now using advanced technology to spy on citizens within the United States borders. This presentation addresses those concerns and leaves the reader/audience with the question, “Homeland Security or Big Brother?”

state of terror
State of Terror
  • September 11, 2001 (911), is recorded by many as the worst State of Terror in U.S. history. Because we were caught unprepared, the terrorist attack of 9/11 brought the U.S. to its knees. The attack revealed a haughty U.S. spirit and exposed the weakness of our homeland security.
  • The State of Terror created a domino effect of panic and a rush for immediate safeguards ensuring a strong domestic defense via homeland security measures. According to James X. Dempsey, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology,4 the panic by the federal government included:
state of terror7
State of Terror
  • Secret arrest of thousands of people who wereheld without criminal charges
  • Wiretaps of attorney-client telephone calls without judicial approval
  • Authorization of the creation of military courts to secretly try terrorism suspects
  • Rewritten Surveillance Laws
  • Increased powers of both the FBI and CIA

to collect information within the U.S. on citizens and noncitizens4

state of terror8
State of Terror

Birthed from the panic of 911, was the PATRIOT ACT the acronym for Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism, signed into law October 26, 2001. Fathered by the Federal Government, the PATRIOT ACT, legalized many of the laws formerly put in place to protect civil liberties.

NOTE: The USA PATRIOT ACT: HR 3162, S 1510, Public Law 107-56, is a United States Legislative Law.5 The bill passed the U. S. Senate by a vote of 98-1 and it passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 357-66.6

what are civil liberties
What Are Civil Liberties

It is important to understand what are civil liberties. Many confuse civil liberties with civil rights and refer to them interchangeably. However, civil liberties are rights that individuals have against government. Or “areas of personal freedom with which governments are constrained from interfering.”7

Only the government can violate your civil liberties.

civil liberties federal state
Civil Liberties: Federal & State

It is interesting to note that The 14th Amendment also applied the provisions of the Bill of Rights to all levels of government -- not just the federal government, as was originally the case, but also to state and local government agencies. This took many years to come to fruition. The principle of selective incorporation was the process by which different protections in the Bill of Rights were incorporated into the 14th Amendment…”8

comparison civil liberties and civil rights
Civil Liberties

Civil liberties are basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed. They are either outlined in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, or they have been interpreted as so by the courts and lawmakers. Such rights are:

Freedom of speech

Freedom of religion

The right to privacy

The right to be free from unreasonable searches & seizure

The right to a fair court trial

The right to marry

The right to vote

Civil Rights

Historically, civil rights have revolved around the basic right to be free from unequal treatment based on certain protected characteristics such as:



Disability, etc

Civil rights apply in environments as employment and housing

Comparison: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
purpose of patriot act
Purpose of PATRIOT ACT

According to Bob Barr, a UPI Outside Commentator, the PATRIOT ACT, signed into law on 10-26, 2001, “The law was meant to update the power of the government to bring it in line with emerging technology; to provide added funds for translators, border security and emergency victim relief; and to assure the American people that something was being done.”9

The Legal Database interprets its purpose as:

“The law – as initially designed – was meant to make it difficult for terrorist to continue harmful activities against the United States. Basically, the law gives extra powers to the intelligence officers and other law enforcement personnel – both foreign and domestic.”10


National Security Agency

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

According to the Wikipedia website, “The National Security Agency / Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) is believed to be the largest United States government intelligence agency.

It is responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and for the security of US government communications against similar agencies elsewhere.

Established by a U.S. presidential executive order, the NSA works closely with the Department of Defense and is typically directed by a military officer. NSA is a key component of the United States Intelligence Community headed by the Director of National Intelligence.”11

  • Big Brother
  • noun
  • An absolute ruler, especially one who is harsh and oppressive: despot, dictator, führer, man on horseback, oppressor, strongman, totalitarian, tyrant. Seeover/under.12
overview 1984 big brother
Overview: 1984 - Big Brother
  • 1984 is a fictional novel and movie about a society ruled by a The Party. The Party is a totalitarian government who keeps its citizens under both constant physical and thought surveillance. The citizens were monitored by telescreens and billboards that Big Brother was Journalist Derek Shaw gives a good overview of George Orwell's "1984, in the column of the Daily Trojan.
    • “1984 depicts a world that has been reduced to absolute governmental control over all areas of life, banishing the freedom to love, read and even think freely. The threat of constant warfare falsely propagated by the "Party," the single political power in the totalitarian state of Oceania, allows the government to maintain and expand its reign over the lives of its people.”
  • Are the expanded authorities of surveillance granted to the president and other federal agencies via the PATRIOT ACT a precursor to a Brotherhood Society?
  • Is advanced technology in the hands of the Federal Government a temptation for a Brotherhood Society?
  • Can Libertyand Securityco-habitat a society?
let s compare
Society Under Bush & PATRIOT ACT

Attorney General Ashcroft, “liberty is meaningless without security.”15

Society Under Big Brother

Slogan of the Party “War is Peace, Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is Strength”14

Let’s Compare
let s compare20
Let’s Compare

Society Under Big Brother

In the novel 1984 Big Brother is watching you” was plastered on

Billboards all around the country. This was a form of control to

remind the people that every step or move they made was under

surveillance. 16

Society Under Bush & Patriot Act

Bruce Schneier, an internationally renowned security technologist quotes White House attorney John Yoo as follows:

“In defending this secret spying on Americans, Bush said that he relied on his constitutional powers (Article 2) and the joint resolution passed by Congress after 9/11 that led to the war in Iraq. This rationale was spelled out in a memo written by John Yoo, a White House attorney, less than two weeks after the attacks of 9/11. It's a dense read and a terrifying piece of legal contortionism, but it basically says that the president has unlimited powers to fight terrorism. He can spy on anyone, arrest anyone, and kidnap anyone and ship him to another country ... merely on the suspicion that he might be a terrorist. And according to the memo, this power lasts until there is no more terrorism in the worldYoo starts by arguing that the Constitution gives the president total power during wartime.” 17

let s compare21
Let’s Compare

Society Under Big Brother

In 1984 the State was always involved in an external war with an unclear, ever-shifting enemy. People always believed they were in danger. This was propaganda from the government to control opposition of the government and maintain total authority by cultivating fear and hatred. 18

Society Under Bush & Patriot Act

Today, it’s the war in Iraq, al-Qaida and bin Laden, Afghanistan.

According to Derek Shaw of the Daily Trojan,…Bush openly

Labeled Iran, North Korea and Iraq as the “axis of evil.” He

Further stated in his column,”…In a later speech, he added Cuba,

Libya and Syria to the growing list of nations that are allegedly

Seeking to obtain or develop weapons of mass destruction.”19

let s compare22
Let’s Compare

Society Under Big Brother

“Truth -- Minitrue, in Newspeak -- was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete…”20

Past & Current Society Under Bush & Patriot Act

Statue of Liberty On October 28th, 1886 was inaugurated. President Grover Cleveland accepted the Statue on behalf of the United States and said in part: "We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected. The Statue was re-assembled on her new pedestal in four months time.21

let s compare23
Let’s Compare

Society Under Big Brother

A day never passed when spies and saboteurs acting under his directions were not unmasked by the Thought Police.22

Society Under Bush & PATRIOT ACT

Government's ability to demand information from libraries, financial records, Internet and Communication providers.

According to John Diamond and David Jackson, journalist of USA Today, Bush said he had the legal and constitutional authority for the program without congressional approval. ….” that U.S. Intelligence can determine whether someone is tied to al-Qaeda, and if they’re making a phone call in the U.S. it seems like to me we want to know why.”23

let s compare24
Let’s Compare

Society Under Big Brother

“But the face of Big Brother seemed to persist for several seconds on the screen, as though the impact that it had made on everyone's eyeballs was too vivid to wear off immediately.” 24

Defending Domestic Spying

President Bush on TV after 9/11

Terrorist Attack



Advanced technology in the U.S. has given our society the power to monitor anyone, anytime and any place. Because terrorism is a very real fact of life today, it is my belief that liberty as we have known it in the past is gone forever. Can liberty and security co-habitat? Yes, but to a lesser degree than set forth by the Framers of our county. There will never be a balance between liberty and homeland security. However, as U.S. citizens we have the right to decide when and what liberties we are willing to sacrifice to ensure our security.

There is a striking resemblance between our current society, the new powers given to the National Security Agency and the 1984 Society of Big Brother. While 1984 was a fictional novel, what going on in our society relative to government surveillance is a real . We are being watched and monitored



Regardless of our actions, advanced technology is here and it’s marching forth. The reality is Big Brother has long arrived. We have already submitted to Big Brother with the use of our Social Security number, online banking, Ebay and other online purchases to name a few. Martin Luther King was the victim of government surveillance back in the 1960s. Biomemetrics and frequency identity chips (RFIDs) are already used in our society today.25

What can we do? As U.S. citizens we should re-examine our privacy laws that interfere with national security. Equally, in a time of war, we must put aside certain individual thoughts and think as a nation to avoid another 9/11; so that our liberty will not be used as a weapon against us. The last slides serve as a reminder, that certain liberties have already been taken away from us in 2001 not by by the PATRIOT ACT; but, by the real enemies who killed over 2,500 people on September 11, 2001.