Ben Franklin’s states that if a person is to revoke a basic right or freedom, for example, the rights to privacy, in order to be protected is no better than removing their safety and freedom forever.
Ben Franklin’s, correctly portrays the idea of keeping one’s freedom over a temporary security or safety. To give up a right can be terrible for a person or society. The government taking the right of privacy from citizens all over the world is unjust and cruel. When another group takes power of an important right, it is nothing less than tyranny. In 2001, a law called the USA PATRIOT Act was passed by the American government that allowed the National Security Agency to access information on any person’s phone, computer or device of any kind if they are a suspected terrorist, or suspected to become one. This individual will have no notice that they are being suspected or watched. The government seized the right to privacy unwillingly from its citizens and those in other nations in order to prevent terrorist attacks. In 2012, two acts called SOPA and PIPA were nearly passed before being harshly protested and denied by the entire nation. The acts, essentially, caused the internet to be constantly monitored and limited in the name of crime and terrorism prevention, similar to the Patriot act. Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother, a book featuring government oversight, says on boingboing.net, “This is a fight of our lives. People hate the Patriot Act — it’s what the NSA has used to violate the Constitution and monitor our private lives day in and day out for the past 14 years.” (Doctorow, 2015). The United States government is using the program meant for anti-terrorism to constantly watch innocent, average people via media, email, wiretaps, phone records, etc.. Although the rights given up are gone, they can be justified in some ways. After the terrorist attacks of 9-11, the US needed a way to prevent more terrorist attacks. The Patriot Act was meant to prevent terrorist attacks before they started. The US Department of Justice explains, “The Patriot Act facilitated information sharing and cooperation among government agencies...’”(USDOJ, 2001). The Patriot Act was designed to lower terrorism in the USA, easily. A common view is that the Patriot Act was created with good intentions to eliminate terrorism forever in the USA. This is somewhat reasonable because after 9-11, terrorism was a much greater threat and the government took every precaution it could to be ready and prevent another attack. However, the precaution quickly turned into a corrupt action that could see anything or anyone, anytime, anywhere. The NSA taps into everyone's devices and/or watches them all day, every day. The Patriot act has caught absolutely no major terrorist movements, Maggie Ybarra states on the Washington Times, “FBI agents can’t point to any major terrorism cases they’ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act...” (Ybarra, 2015). The Patriot Act has had no success from its original intentions, but it still has the ability to monitor anything and anyone the government wishes. The Patriot Act shows Benjamin Franklin’s ideology clearly. We have unwillingly given up our essential right to privacy for a temporary security, which has done more harm than good. Ben Franklin’s statement has become no less than truth in the way of privacy. In order to get our privacy back, the Patriot Act and the NSA must be limited, or stopped. “They that can give up essential liberty and freedom to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” (Franklin, 1759). We must have the right to our rights.