Balancing Criminal Justice and Personal Freedom

Topics: Law, Privacy, Surveillance Pages: 5 (1834 words) Published: June 21, 2009
Balancing Criminal Justice and Personal Freedoms

Balancing Criminal Justice and Personal Freedoms
The use of technology has been extremely beneficial to all branches of criminal justice although the loss of privacy and personal freedoms has been somewhat dramatic. As technology has evolved fighting crime has improved. Technology is a part of every day life for everyone. According to Rebecca Blaine, the first fully programmable computer was created around 1936. Since that date inventors all over the world began to work on improving computers. As inventors began to improve computers technology has evolved tremendously (Blaine 2007). The basic computer which once typed and was able to hold a few documents has evolved to tracking the movements of individuals live through satellite surveillance, determine the DNA sample of an individual, identify individuals through fingerprinting, allowing communications within one second across the world, and numerous other tasks which enable law enforcement to fight crime effectively and efficiently. Although technology has allowed law enforcement to fight crime, it has also invented more crimes in the process. The new technology has led to problems such as identity theft, hacking, child pornography, civilians using hidden cameras for personal use, and government abuse of power. Technological advances are here to stay. Is it possible to protect individual rights and privacy with the evolving use of technology?

Individual privacy has been facing new threats since technology has become more advanced. The realm of technology and privacy has been transformed, creating danger and hope. The fourth amendment guarantees individuals the right, “ to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (Findlaw 2007). As technology has advanced the rights to privacy has began to diminish. Computers, hidden cameras, listening devices, inferred heating devices, DNA databanks, AFIS databanks, mobile data terminals, satellite surveillance, and other technological advances have stripped American’s of the privacy they once knew. In order to balance the privacy rights of individuals and maintain public safety the courts have had to intervene but often technology robs American’s of privacy regardless. In attempting to balance the right to privacy, Philip Agre claims we must first define privacy or individual rights. Privacy rights are difficult to measure and citizens are aware they suffer harm from technological advances which enhance police work, but are unable to reconstruct the connections between cause and effect. Privacy, according to Philip Agre, is the capacity to negotiate social relationships by controlling access to personal information (Agre 1997). The balancing of privacy and the ever evolving use of technology will not be an easy task.

The advantages of using technology in policing are numerous. Police are able to identify suspects due to video footage, a strand of hair, a drop of blood, and fingerprints with ease. Computers allow the identification process to go rather quickly. The photo of a suspect can be put on the news or internet exposing the individual worldwide. Hidden cameras and public cameras allow police to capture suspects and stop numerous amounts of criminal activity. The surveillance equipment available today allows police to stop terrorist, drug traffickers, weapon dealers, pedophiles, bank robbers, and every other known type of criminal. Although certain individuals may complain about loss of privacy due to cameras in public places these are successful methods of preventing and discouraging criminal activity. Public cameras, according to Marcus Nieto, represent a valid use of the state’s power to protect its...

References: The Evolution of Technology- The History of Computers 2007 All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Retrieved from August 27th 2007
Findlaw For Legal Professions Retrieved from August 27th 2007
Technology and Privacy: The New Landscape MIT Press 1997 Retrieved from August 27th 2007
Privacy and Technology Getting the balance right Retrieved from August 27th 2007
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Criminal Justice Essay
  • Essay on Criminal Justice
  • Crime and the Criminal Justice System Essay
  • Ethics in Criminal Justice Essay
  • Criminal Justice Essay
  • Essay on Ethics for a Criminal Justice Career
  • Criminal Justice Essay
  • criminal justice Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free