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David Yancey 1

David T. Yancey
Mrs. McGuire
American Studies
13 October 2003
The Right to Privacy
E-mail and instant messaging surveillance is a pervasively controversial issue.
Should the Government have the right to read people’s “private” emails and instant
messages? There are many different opinions on this subject. My opinion is that if a
person is not suspected of criminal or other activity that may endanger the health or
safety of others, the government should not be have access to his electronic
communications.
Once an email leaves one’s computer, it travels from the originating host
computer to the destination of the mail. It passes through several other hosts on its way.
Administrators of these other hosts can easily look into the mail. If a piece of mail
bounces because it can’t reach it’s intended computer destination, a copy is made of the
message and the originating host can read the addresses and the contents of the email.
Not only can these hosts read the mail, employers can read the mail sent on company
computers, and it can be seized by law enforcement officials. Employers read
employees’ emails for two main reasons: to make sure the workers are being productive,
and to ensure the safety of the company. There are many potentially positive uses of
email monitoring, but there is a dark side to email surveillance that could result in
serious erosion or privacy rights.

U.A. Instant messaging is another method of communication that is easily monitored by parents.S. but we must be ever vigilant to guard against unacceptable invasion of our privacy.S. over 900 million instant messages were sent a day and it has been projected that by 2004.S. 2001. it is regarded as a private way to communicate using online technology. .” it helps to reassure the user that the messages are not readily accessible by others. however. Patriot Act can help keep us safe.David Yancey 2 Last year. Patriot Act was enacted after the attacks on September 11. people will send over seven billion messages a day. and gives the government more authority to track telephone and email communications and eavesdrop on them. or law enforcement agencies. Much like emails. The U. The U. From the perspective of the employee or user of the instant message program. It even allows the federal government to detain non. citizens suspected of terrorist activity for up to seven days without specific charges. My view is that the act permits the government investigators too much discretion. I think that it is good for employers and government agencies to monitor email and text messaging conversations¸ but only when coupled with adequate legal protection.A. This act constitutes a form of spying but is defended as necessary for national security. employers. Since you have to type in a password to access to your “screen name. the ability of employers or other officials to read peoples messages can be easily abused. the monitoring of instant messages can be affective in ensuring the safety of businesses and families. Views on this topic vary widely due to its sensitive nature.

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