Civil Liberties in an Era of Global Terrorism

November 30, 2017
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Civil liberties can be seen through varying lenses and perspectives in modern society. A citizen of the United States may see civil liberties in the context of individual freedom, while the United States government may see civil liberties as the non-deniable rights granted in the First Amendment of the U.S Constitution. Nevertheless, civil liberties are definitely compromised as global terrorism persists. It is exceptionally more difficult to recognize foreign terrorists than it would be to recognize an, “invading army” (Hardin 78). As governments increase the difficulty of their immigration process, innocent individuals find it even harder to migrate to a country where they claim they can enjoy a better standard of living. This is where the civil liberties of the individual becomes more vulnerable. The inability of distinguishing terrorists from faultless civilians is an issue that the government of any country should try to work to solve.The investigation process for terrorists varies from country to country. In the case of the United States, a substantial amount of people are put through investigation under the pretense of being potential terrorists. In fact, “For every 1,000,000 people we select to put through in-depth investigation, the one who is a potential terrorist will be found out, but 5% of those selected, or 50,000, will not be terrorists” (Hardin 80). These 50,000 were originally marked as positive but they still had to undergo extreme investigation just in case there were any faults in the process. For one potential terrorist, thousands of people are being put through tedious investigations. Many view this as a serious con of the entire system. Others think that the process is necessary for the protection of a country’s national security. They say that finding one terrorist can actually save the lives of millions of people.


Profiling for terrorists is mostly based on the race of the suspect. Personally, I believe that a balance between the protection of civil liberties and the security of the people from terrorists is highly needed. If a balance is not acquired, serious consequences can arise from either end. The people of any country have natural rights. So while civil liberties should not be forgotten in any case during periods of extensive terrorism, they should not be held in excessive importance or overshadow the process of attaining justice. Of course, the method that is being used currently is very discriminatory and needs to be adjusted.  Racial profiling is not successful all the time either. A new system should be able to analyze the background of a person, including any sign of possible criminal activity. While this is already done in most cases, the race of the person seems to be put above the suspect’s criminal record, which can be harmful as “White terrorists” do exist. Also, unnecessary harsh treatment of suspects should be unacceptable as the civil liberties are the foundation of the United States. Before the use of torture, thorough evaluation and research needs to be done with a list of requirements signaling a potential terrorist. One aspect linked to terrorism that needs to be examined into more depth would be the use of online systems or social media by terrorists. If a country can learn to accurately track the terrorists’ locations through online databases, then a lot of developments can be made in the fight against terrorism worldwide. Nonetheless, the U.S. government needs to realize that its authoritative power relies in its citizens. The principles of its operation are based on the U.S. constitution and its biggest component of civil liberties, listed in the First Amendment. The future of global terrorism does not seem to be disappearing soon, and although our regulation procedures do need to evolve accordingly, civil liberties need to stay intact as a priority as the deterioration of them can lead to civil unease.






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