Keep government out of private files

      Editor: Dave Uphoff
The latest controversy surrounding the White House is the attempt to get Google, the internet search engine company, to release to the government an activity log of searches. The government maintains that it wants to do random searches of the Google search log to determine what percentage of searches were for pornography. The government is trying to prove that the volume of searches for pornography is sufficient in number to warrant governmental control to shield children from internet pornography. However, Google has said that it will not release its search log because of the confidentiality it has promised to its users.

Just like the spying on email and telephones calls in and out of the United States, the government is again overstepping its boundaries and intruding on the personal lives of the American public. Not only should the government keep its nose out of the private files of Americans, it should also refrain from attempting to control what we do in our personal lives. Everyone knows that pornography is accessible on the internet. However, it is up to parents to control what their children look at on the internet, not the government.

I certainly don't object to the government wanting to prevent pornography from being viewed by children. I only object to its means to control it by snooping through private internet searches. If you grant the government the right to snoop for pornography how do you prevent it from snooping for people who view websites which are against government policies, etc. In other words, where do you draw the line? Its like opening up Pandora's box.

Regardless of the kind of internet restrictions the government wants, it will be very difficult to enforce because the internet is now a world wide network. How do we prevent the viewing of foreign websites which would be free of American laws without putting a draconian filter on every internet service provider in the country? The internet has become the phenomenom that it is because it was developed by the market place free of government intervention. When governments try to control content, the internet will lose its power and its flexibility.

To illustrate, if spam or unwanted email is a problem, private entrepeneurs will eventually come up with a solution to the problem because there is a demand by internet users for a solution and are willing to pay for a solution. The government is too cumbersome and too inflexible to meet the demands of the market place.

It is up to the American citizen to question the motives of our government if it appears that our freedoms are gradually being taken away or if corruption exists. It doesn't matter if the Republicans or the Democrats are in office. It is a natural tendency for any government adminstration to want to gain more power while it is in office. It is up to us to make sure that government does not exceed the powers that are spelled out in our Constitution.

The reason we are a great country is because of our freedom from government intervention in our personal lives. The protections that the government would want to give us are not worth the freedom we would give up in order to receive those protections. After all, we are Americans.

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January 30, 2006