September 11 dramatically changed how America looks at the world, both within and outside its own borders. In addition to spurring military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, the terrorist attacks led to changes in several policy areas. Many of these initiatives, such as the PATRIOT Act and the Defense Department’s Total Information Awareness program, generated serious and often rancorous debate over the most basic tenets of American government. Can the United States improve its national security without seriously weakening its cherished civil liberties? And how does the availability of enhanced technology affect that delicate balance? In Protecting What Matters, leading figures from government, public policy, and the private sector analyze the critical relationships among security, freedom, and technology in a changed nation.
The terrorists left numerous clues about their intentions—two of the hijackers even appeared on government watch lists. Could more sophisticated information technology have helped authorities thwart the hijackers, and would enhanced surveillance using the Internet help prevent future attacks? Legal, political, and ethical concerns limit surveillance and intelligence gathering. How much is too much?
The contributors to Protecting What Matters address the most critical issues surrounding the relationship of security, technology, and liberty, beginning with the historical and public-opinion parameters of the debate. They go on to analyze how the intelligence community must reconfigure itself and the role that technology can play in combating terrorism, suggesting ways in which technology can protect the homeland without threatening civil liberties. Finally, several authoritative analysts focus on the key legal issues at the intersection of liberty and security, including the proper role of technology. Senator Russ Feingold presents his objections to the PATRIOT Act, the most controversial law to emerge from this debate, while his colleague, Senator Jon Kyl, provides a spirited defense.
Contributors: Zöe Baird (Markle Foundation), James Barksdale (Barksdale Group), Bruce Berkowitz (Hoover Institution), Jerry Berman (Center for Democracy and Technology), Russ Feingold (U.S. Senate), Beryl A. Howell (Stroz Friedberg), Jon Kyl (U.S. Senate), Gilman Louie (In-Q-Tel), James B. Steinberg (University of Texas at Austin), Larry Thompson (PepsiCo), Gayle von Eckartsberg (In-Q-Tel), Alan F. Westin (Center for Social and Legal Research).
Clayton Northouse is an information policy analyst at OMB Watch and former program manager of the Computer Ethics Institute.
Ramon Barquin is president of the Computer Ethics Institute and Barquin International.
Jane Fishkin is vice president of the Computer Ethics Institute.