From Tony McEwing: Big Brother Is Watching! - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Tony McEwing: Big Brother Is Watching!

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It's taken a couple of decades but clearly, much of what George Orwell penned in his popular classic "1984" has come to fruition. Big Brother is watching thanks in large part to 9-11 and the powers granted the government under the Patriot Act.

We recently learned that the National Security Agency has not only been gathering information on who we're calling, when and where but perhaps what we're surfing on the Web and what we're buying with our credit cards.

Similar surveillance was going on under President Bush but such information gathering has been widely and wildly expanded under the Obama administration, which is curious since President Obama voiced his opposition to such snooping when it was approved by his predecessor. This unprecedented butting into our business by the federal government has been slammed by privacy advocates and defended as necessary to protect the country from terrorist attacks by others. Both sides have valid points.

Certainly no one wants the country to go through another 9-11. At the same time, there is a lot of discomfort in knowing the government can and does access some of our most private information without our knowledge or consent and can use that information to arrest you and detain you without due process should someone, somewhere decide that you're engaged in activities that threaten national security.

There is no question that the government has a duty under the constitution to protect this country from enemies both foreign and domestic. The question is, just how far should and can the government legally go in fulfilling its constitutional obligations without unnecessarily trampling the rights of the very people it is trying to protect?

It is a question which will undoubtedly provoke years of debate. But I can't think of any debate in recent memory as important as this. Let the discussions begin! What do you think about this? I'd love to know.

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