Electronic surveillance has become a controversial practice in the United States and elsewhere. The fear is that civil liberties can be jeopardized by unregulated interception of telephone conversations, e-mail, and fax transmissions. Detractors argue that government use of these technologies can conceivably move well beyond legitimate application against threats from crime, espionage, and terrorism. Absent strict protocols to rein in these technologies, a worst-case scenario envisions state intrusions into the everyday activities of innocent civilians. Should this happen, critics foresee a time when privacy, liberty, and personal security become values of the past.
1. Is it sometimes necessary to sacrifice a few freedoms to protect national security and to ensure the long-term viability of civil liberty?'
2. How should new technologies be regulated? Can they be regulated?
3. How serious is the threat from abuses in the use of new technologies?