Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Right to Privacy vs. Right to Government Transparency

In 2001, the U.S. enacted the Patriot Act,
which allows government to know a citizen's private information,
through wire-taps and gaining information
from banks, telecommunication companies, libraries, etc. 
Many feel this is an assault on the U.S. 4th amendment.
The U.S. Senate is now debating to extend this act
permanently or until December 2013.

If the government, which exists for the people, can know about the citizen,
then the citizen shall know about the government,
thus the Right to Government Transparency.



Two questions here need debate:
How much transparency shall there be?
At the moment, in 2011,
many agree the military needs secrecy for security reasons,
especially their strategies and plans.
However, in a future world,
where the Right to Peace is a real possibility,
even this secrecy may be unnecessary,
and full disclosure would be potentially possible.

So the next question comes up:
if any government official acts unethically,
how are they to be punished as consequence?
And, who is to judge which action is unethical?
Without these, transparency means nothing.


55 comments:

michelle said...

I think as citizens, we should be able to be in our own homes without getting the feeling that we are being watched, or everytime we make a phone call, we have to be careful with what we say? no! privacy is privacy, no matter how small it is. stay out of people's lives!

Patty. D said...

As a Obama said once; "The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears".

Therefore, I can conclude on The Right to Government transparency "should"

1- Depend on good "Internal"records and clear procedures.

2- Imply a proactive effort to make information accessible to citizens. (Information that we as US citizens are not informed).

3- Transparency is one indicator of a
government that is citizen focused and service oriented.

Patricia Delgado

Anonymous said...

I think all this transparency will just cause a lot of snooping and trouble.
If someone is smart enough to hide from the army, the government and whoever else, maybe they should get some credit.
But on the same tolken, if they are a threat we should find them no matter what.

I honestly see it both ways. I don't want to know everything the governments doing. We need to do things (and sometimes kill others) to save the majority. People have too many emotions and if they knew all the nitty gritty then the country would just be a big mess.

-surfershoes

Nicole said...

Government transparency is a very complex right. Many think something’s are better left unsaid. Personally, I think the government should be open and honest with us. As for the military certain things not all should be kept private for the safety of us as a whole. The government disciplines convicts for being shady, but the government is just as shady is not more.

-Nicole Chaplin-

Terrance Carter said...

I think that we are giving this issue to much attention. I am one that doesn't have anything to hide from anyone.I agree that everyone should have as much privacy as needed. We wanted this government and that's all I have to say about this matter.

Anonymous said...

In a perfect world, transparency on both ends would be great, but it is not realistic now. With everything that is going on, I can see how the government would need to know who is who and at the same time need to hide the strategies that protect this country.

LP

Anonymous said...

It’s interesting that someone mention Obama and transparency when Mr. Obama’s administration is not transparent. It is my belief that no government can be totally transparent because the world is a dangerous place. We elect the leaders with the intention that they are going make good decisions; if they don’t, we have the option to vote them out.Gary Norris

Anonymous said...

I believe the military does need secrecy for security reasons. If that means the government is allowed to know citizens private information then so be it. I know I walk a straight line, which allows me to be at peace. How ever people who steal from the government need to be brought to justice because in the end that unethical person affects me.

Ann Marie

deltoroclaudia46 said...

We all as individuals need our privacy. As we know the government can tap into any of our calls without a warrant and hear our conversation. They use the excuse that it is to protect us from terrorists but what about our privacy for those of us who mean no harm to our country? They can hear us but we cannot hear them. They can tap into our email but we cannot see theirs? This to me is not fair we as people should have the right to know what the government is doing. We all should have the right to government transparency.

Anonymous said...

Governments keeps secrets for a reason, and that is national security. If government wouldn't have secrets if there wasn't threat for an attack by another government, nation, or group. GIL RO.

Anonymous said...

As citizens with a government that insist on protecting the wellbeing of all through the violation of privacy, the government should then in turn gain the trust of the citizens by allowing a transparent government. Because without trust there could never truly be a happy and just nation.


-F.C.

Anonymous said...

An important part of being a responsible citizen is holding your local, state, and federal government accountable. The transparency of government and it's actions is important because the actions of a government speak louder than words and often impact the everyday lives of citizens in many ways.
A government should be transparent to the degree that people (citizens) are aware of what's happening in their own country without compromising national security interest.

Francisco A.

Espy said...

I agree with Ann Marie. There are things the Military have to be secretive about. If some of this secret info gets out, it can cause panic in our communities. Whatever our government is letting the public know at this moment in time is fine with me. I don't necessarily agree with the government snooping into our personal business, people have the right to privacy.

tiffytiff305 said...

We should have the right to government transparency, to a certain extent. The government has information that if leaked out, can cause caos amongst the country. We need to be aware of what is going on with our country but at the same time the government needs to keep somethings private for our safety.

Luz Mery said...

Government transparency is to some point a good idea since we need to know who we are using as a voice in government. But knowing to much can also affect us. There has always been a lot of information kept from the public and that may be so we can be kept calm. I think we may not be able to handle a lot of mistakes done by the government. So it may be best to just not find out everything and if we're not wanted by the government then they won't be investigating us.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there is some circumstances especially military where the government doesn't want to inform us. But why they have to spy on us 24/7 and we are not allow to find what is going on with them? Then, to me if they have to know everything about us, then we should have at least an idea of what is going on with the government. Laura R.

Anonymous said...

There should be enough government transparency to enable the citizens of that government to voice their concern/take appropriate action if government authority is abused, but not so much that it jeopardizes the safety of the country. Regarding government officials who act unethically, they should be held accountable in a court of law.
Gabe

Fernanda A said...

There should be a limit to government transparency. I think that people should live with some sort of privacy and the government invading it seems unreasonable. Access to the persons entire life is just too much. We as citizens do have the right to privacy.

Ingrid J. said...

There is a need for government transparency to allow the voters a chance to respond to unethical behaviors by government officials. After-all the people voted them into office. I agree that the military has to keep some things secret because we're living in a mean world. As for us the citizens, it's not so bad being watched because after all we might have some Osama Ben Ladens among us.

aquintana said...

This should be a Right unless as soon as anyone becomes part of the government they stop being a citizen.

Aimara said...

The government should keep secrets, for safety reasons. Knowing how things are now a days it would be a huge mistake if the governemnt revealed all of his/her secrets.

Aimara Ors

Anonymous said...

If the government didn't keep certain things under wraps, the world would be in total chaos. Isn't it odd that when someone takes a stand against or brings something to light against the government, they end up being silenced?

Eddie M.

Miglaude said...

Security becomes the top issue in the world, so it is not a surprise that the international right to government transparency standard has being avoided. We are living in an intolerant world, and we have to be organized for any crisis. This unethical method is the explanation that people cannot have their breathing space.

luisa said...

If this right were to be initiated then the way the government operates will dramatically change. Or the government will continue to keep some plans and strategies a secret. Having a completely transparent government seems more like a pipe dream. Even though people should be aware of the truth, every government detail might be too overwhelming.

Pedro said...

The government enacted measures to be informed about citizens. Through these measures many citizens have been tracked down. The Right to Government Transparency has been created to examine the government and will not end until both sides are content. P.L

Anonymous said...

I feel that this was done for security purposes only. The Government is simply attempting to do whatever possible to keep the people safe, and monitor criminal activity. I'm not currently involved in anything illegal so I know no one is after me. Besides I'm sure they will only invade someones privacy if they have reason to believe they have to.--KB

Anonymous said...

Many believe that the government keeps information from the citizens for their own safety. The government can know so much about the citizens yet we do not know so much on their plans. I believe that we have the right to know everything that is going on, especially since we live in this nation. Yes it is true that certain information is crucial for battles between other countries. But when is all the fighting going to end? We live in a nation where we have the rights for peace and happiness. How can we pursue this when we do not know what can happen tomorrow? I believe we should know everything except strategic information the military has. There can be consequences if any government official acts unethically. This country can turn upside down. Chaos, destruction, who knows the terrible things, can come about. The right to Government Transparency should be exercised to a certain extent.
-Shivani

Anonymous said...

The government is given the right to know people's private life to make sure we are safe but because of this we deserve to know what they are doing this way we can truely feel safe and even ease are minds. For an example a child going on a roller coaster is often very scared of what might happen but once he goes on it and finishes the ride he is no longer as scared as he was in the beginning of the ride. When we don't know something we overreact on what it could be and tend to get scared of it which is why the government is watching us so they can ease their imaginations on situations but since we aren't watching them our imaginations will not become at ease. Marcia P

Esmeralda A said...

I believe that government transparency should be permitted if it is necessary. I do not believe that someone's life should be exposed. I believe that if the government has the right to investigate one's life then as a citizen we loose our right to privacy. EA

Renata said...

The right to government transparency should be in effect for a long time already, however it is clear that now-a-days this right doesn't really exist. If people knew more about the government and how it really works many problems and discussions would not exist, therefore things would be occur in a more peaceful way. However, I think some things should still be kept hidden from people in other to protect the citizens.

Anonymous said...

I agree in that the citizen shall know more about their government. But government transparency is very difficult to rule, because government usually handles a lot of power. I think there should be strong laws and consequences if any government official acts unethically.
Claudia B.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, I do not believe that secrets should be kept from the citizens. If the government is entitled to listen to our conversations and know everything about our lives, why shouldn’t we. I give this example: If a government agency can get into our bank accounts, why can’t we see the bank accounts of our Mayor or President? It should go both ways. Of course, everything should not be extreme either. I do believe that when it comes to our army and other knowing our tactics, which should be kept a secret. We do not want our enemies, when we are at war, to know what strategies we are going to perform.
MelB

Anonymous said...

Although I do not like the idea that the government can access any of my information through the Patriot Act, I think that this is only a measure the government takes to further set a structured society. For example this may help catch a criminal by gaining information through a bank. Of course we should then have the ability to know what happens inside the government. As the post says, I think that military strategies would draw the line for security reasons. In the future where peace may be a possibility, I think that full disclosure could be allowed. If a governmental official acts unethically I think they should be treated the same as if any other person committed the same crime. -v.p.

TrustMeImADoctor said...

The government should be able to keep some secretes, I do agree that military tactics and plans should be kept secure from the public only for the purpose of our protection. The government should not be allowed to act unethically and just get away with it, that is first morally wrong and second not just.

Johana said...

What I'm thinking about more and more these days is simply the importance of transparency, and Jefferson's saying that he'd rather have a free press without a government than a government without a free press.

Janet Almonte said...

As American Citizens we all want to be protected. The right to government transparency can interfere with this protection we all seek. President Obama states, “My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.” I feel as if it worse to lie to the American People than to say the truth and state that we are in an era when government transparency is not possible at all times and to be able to protect the people of our nation correctly we must all understand that some of these rights are limited.
Janet

wimberly.rhonda said...

I feel the government should access to certain information available through today's technology. A lot of lives are saved through their ability to access bank accounts, e-mail, etc. Also, a lot of criminals are apprehended through their ability to use communication technology. I also feel that the government needs to be honest with the people when it comes to their security and safety.

shan said...

The government has to much access to our personal lives. The government is so secretive about so many things, but whenever they want, they can invade our privacy anytime.The Government in my eyes is the most corrupt organization there is.

daili7599 said...

In my opinion even if the government was under complete transparency there would be politicians who would bribe their way through things. Most people have a price; this is why I think that this right will not truly be effective. Also, there has to be some secrecy in the government, because if the public knew everything that the government is going there would be an overflow of information.
-D.Diaz

Anonymous said...

I think we have to trust the government that was elected by the majority of people. At least, we have the right to choose who ever we want to be our President. GS

Anonymous said...

Government transparency wouldn't really do anything. I mean, yes we would know what was going on behind the scenes, but it's not like we can do anything about it. --Rosa F.

Anonymous said...

I believe that to a certain point government transparency is necessary. I also don’t believe that someone’s personal life should be exposed. E.S.

Jenny said...

I believe that the government keeps a numerous of secrets from us for national security purposes. If certain information were to reach the ears of the public, chaos will unravel.

JR

RV said...

Governments should be transparent because the citizens have the right to know and only information that could compromise the people's security should be kept private.

lachinita520 said...

To what extent is something considered private and how private is it really? Just as government information is private, as humans our personal space and information should be taken into consideration. – D.T

Anonymous said...

The government is not an individual person and all matters conducted by the government is subject to public scrutiny. The personnel records of the employees of the government are the only records that should remain private. Everything else that the government is doing is subject to be reviewed and approved by the people being governed. By: L.J.B.R.

Anonymous said...

I believe we are slowly losing our rights and our privacy. When will this end? They continue to slowly take away our rights, our privacy in hopes that we all just go with the flow. You remember that story- if you have a pot with a frog in it and SLOWLY turn the water heat up to a boil, the frog will stay in the pot unknowingly until it's death. If you turn the heat up quickly, it will notice, and jump out of the pot. The govt. is slowly turning up the heat... lets not end up like that frog, now. - KM

Anonymous said...

TOO MANY LIES AND SECRETS IN OUR SYSTEM. Military tactics and plans are the only things that should be kept secret from the public. WE are the citizens and WE have the right to know what is going on with OUR government. Our private information is not their business.

Anonymous said...

TOO MANY LIES AND SECRETS IN OUR SYSTEM. Military tactics and plans are the only things that should be kept secret from the public. WE are the citizens and WE have the right to know what is going on with OUR government. Our private information is not their business.

Anonymous said...

TOO MANY LIES AND SECRETS IN OUR SYSTEM. Military tactics and plans are the only things that should be kept secret from the public. WE are the citizens and WE have the right to know what is going on with OUR government. Our private information is not their business.

Anonymous said...

TOO MANY LIES AND SECRETS IN OUR SYSTEM. Military tactics and plans are the only things that should be kept secret from the public. WE are the citizens and WE have the right to know what is going on with OUR government. Our private information is not their business.

Anonymous said...

TOO MANY LIES AND SECRETS IN OUR SYSTEM. Military tactics and plans are the only things that should be kept secret from the public. WE are the citizens and WE have the right to know what is going on with OUR government. Our private information is not their business.

Anonymous said...

TOO MANY LIES AND SECRETS IN OUR SYSTEM. Military tactics and plans are the only things that should be kept secret from the public. WE are the citizens and WE have the right to know what is going on with OUR government. Our private information is not their business.

Anonymous said...

TOO MANY LIES AND SECRETS IN OUR SYSTEM. Military tactics and plans are the only things that should be kept secret from the public. WE are the citizens and WE have the right to know what is going on with OUR government. Our private information is not their business.

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