E-mail, terrorism, and the right to privacy

This paper discusses privacy and the monitoring of e-mail in the context of the international nature of the modern world. Its three main aims are: (1) to highlight the problems involved in discussing an essentially philosophical question within a legal framework, and thus to show that providing purely legal answers to an ethical question is an inadequate approach to the problem of privacy on the Internet; (2) to discuss and define what privacy in the medium of the Internet actually is; and (3) to apply a globally acceptable ethical approach of international human rights to the problem of privacy on the Internet, and thus to answer the question of what is and is not morally permissible in this area, especially in light of recent heightened concerns about terrorist activities. It concludes that the monitoring of e-mail is, at least in the vast majority of cases, an unjustified infringement of the right to privacy, even if this monitoring is only aimed at preventing the commission of acts of terrorism.
Keywords E-mail  International Bill of Rights  Justified Infringement of Rights  law enforcement  right to privacy  terrorism  Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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DOI 10.1007/s10676-006-9103-5
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Robert L. McArthur (2001). Reasonable Expectations of Privacy. Ethics and Information Technology 3 (2):123-128.

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