Photos from a lively party, intricate inside jokes, instant and personalized communication — someone’s life and personality neatly tucked away in the cyber-universe.
With the quiet tapping of keys and simple clicks of a mouse, a complex and ever expanding social world thrives inside the digital world of the Internet. Social networking sites have grown immensely as more people take advantage of the Internet to connect with friends and expand their social horizons. Chat features of these social networking sites have become popular as well, giving users the ability to converse instantly and intimately with their friends. But this broadening of social horizons in general has also given radical organizations the medium to widen their agenda. Many issues have come to the forefront of American public culture due to the expansive outreach of social networking sites. But the two most prominent issues that coincide with this trend are privacy concerns and terrorism counteraction.
These matters go hand-in-hand as the government tries to strike a delicate balance between monitoring the Internet to prevent terrorist activity and not infringing upon citizens’ fundamental rights to privacy. The popularity of social networking sites in today’s society is growing rapidly. For example, Facebook has become probably the most widely used social networking sites in the country. According to statistics from the company, around one-fourth of 400 million active users of the website are from the United States. Also, Facebook is the most viewed website in the nation as of March 2010 (“Complaint In the Matter of Facebook, Inc. ”).
One of the most popular features of social networking sites such as Facebook is their instant-messaging systems, commonly ref. . that chat monitoring is not wanted nor accepted. Privacy and international security are equally important in today’s society, and as such, the government must strike a balance between the two.
Chat surveillance does not strike this balance in the least as it clearly infringes on the public’s right to privacy and does not substantially counteract cyber-terrorist activity. There is no doubt that the Big Brother of today’s society is watching citizens and has been watching them for a long time. Public surveillance is a necessary tactic to insure safety, but only when this monitoring does not delve too deeply into citizen’s personal lives. It is inevitably so that Big Brother’s eyes are peering down upon citizens, but when these eyes peer into the highly personal instant-messaging systems of social networking sites, the fine line between privacy and safety is crossed.