Privacy in the 21st Century

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In the twenty-first century we find ourselves surrounded by a world of mass communication, high technology and instantaneous transmissions of words and visions. People all over the globe can communicate by telephone, by computer and by facsimile machine in seconds. We can talk, we can write, and we can send pictures. This ability to communicate via the Internet has enhanced the lives of people around the globe in many ways. It has also raised new legal and ethical questions. In particular I will addresses issues regarding the 1st and 4thAmendment rights of American citizens. The 1st Amendment focuses on your right of free speech while the 4th Amendment deals with your right to privacy. However, both these Amendments are limited to the powers of the federal government. They do not protect citizens from other private individuals or businesses. The 21st century promises to bring even more technological advancement than the 20th century. Already, the Internet has expanded far greater than ever imagined. If you compare the growth of the Internet to the Industrial Revolution it has grown exponentially times faster. One of the problems faced during the Industrial Revolution was the governments ability to create laws fast enough to protect citizens. Many share this same concern with regard to the Internet. The Internet, often referred to as the NET, is a general purpose, international communication and information system. Once you have access to the Net, there are many things you can do. You can send and receive messages, access a great deal of information, and participate in ongoing discussions with people all over the world. You can also play games, look at pictures, listen to music, watch videos, chat with people, go shopping, and find lots of free programs for your computer. The Internet is a complex collection of resources (Harley Hahn Teaches the Internet, 1998

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