Wars have been waged, and revolutions fought, over the right to self expression and personal freedom.
It is among the United States’ founding principles that every idea is protected and free from government oversight. It is insincere to those principles to gather information of what you are not intended to know. For that reason, eavesdropping on conversations that are of no hostility to anyone is a betrayal of one of our most sacred liberties. While searching correspondence for ill intent seems like a worthy cause; it comes with a price. The act has larger consequences that become morally frayed and disregarded with every application and subsequent “determination”. It is controlling and subjugating, as well as a gross violation of individual privacy. At the very least, it prohibits (and perhaps, oftentimes, criminalizes) certain subjects of discussion and potentially oversteps the domain of what government can and should be able to do.
It is against the spirit of free speech that private conversations of non-threatening affairs be screened, let alone categorized alongside brutal subjects such as terrorism. Are the contents of my discussions that great a risk to national security? Is the observation of private, emotionally focused exchange worth the effort and resources required to obtain it? It can be called into question: what other genres are monitored and to what end? It separates the individual into a category to be reviewed, and marks discussion of a particular subject matter as an offence, while no one has been offended. It is to look down on someone to even think that they need “protection” from themselves. It reeks of condescending “benevolence,” and the mature adult should never be treated as if a child. Protection from my own exchanges was never asked for, and custodial supervision restricts the subjects that I can freely engage in when communicating over the internet.
No doubt, monitoring at that level requires a great deal of technology at great cost. Time and energy should be put to worthier, higher aims. The administration of such an approach shows a failure of attention to the real concern, a personally satisfying well being. That issue stays largely ignored by observation of this type, which sees labeling and interference as appropriate methods of “correction”. Rather, education and support should be more readily available, if solicited, and be given in the upmost confidence at the highest of quality. The best approach the government can take is to not involve itself with the personal matters of its citizenry, but to avail itself, only if it is so desired. That prescription produces faith from the illumination of concern, and is far more manageable than tackling a problem after it has developed. Eavesdropping is not a proactive approach, and merely tries to correct false perception.
People find peace in privacy and strength with certainty, when their ability to communicate goes unimpeded. It would be of outrageous censorship to neglect the transmission of thoughts and feelings for fear of intrusion, as well as violate of the sanctity of personal discussion. Open dialogue and fellowship are therapeutic by nature, and should be free from unwarranted invasion. Friends provide a communication network with which to share what is on the mind, and they will be the ones who will monitor and intervene if needed. It is their input that provides solace at a time when it is truly need. They offer much in the way of emotional comfort when faced with burdens beyond our control. By editing our thoughts to those who care about us, for fear of reprisal; there is the potential for our most serious of concerns to go unrecognized, possibly causing further harm, and eroding the notion of the inviolability of trusted discourse.