A lot of decisions have been made lately about Americans’ privacy. Senate failed to pass the USA Freedom Act. A federal appeals court ruled that it is illegal for the NSA to record phone calls. And the biggest one of all comes tonight: will the Patriot Act expire? Rand Paul says he won’t let it.
Here is a part of Paul’s statement to POLITICO:
“I believe we must fight terrorism, and I believe we must stand strong against our enemies. But we do not need to give up who we are to defeat them. In fact, we must not. There has to be another way. We must find it together.”
Paul’s sentiment appeals strongly to our right to privacy. The argument against is, of course, that the collection of information granted by the Patriot Act is crucial to the capture of terrorists. However, that may not be necessarily true. The International Security archives report that the bulk collection of phone and email records by the NSA “appears to have played an identifiable role in initiating, at most, 1.8 percent of these cases.” While this is not definitive, I don’t think any of us are completely comfortable offering up our phone records for any percentage. However, the issue of national security is bigger than all of us. The question is, of course, at what point does the invasion of privacy become unconstitutional? Paul argues that it already has.
As far as the Patriot Act goes, we’ll see if he comes through on his promise.