Labeling Theory as Evidenced in Patriot Act

LABELING THEORY AS EVIDENCED IN PATRIOT ACT 19

LabelingTheory as Evidenced in Patriot Act

Abstract

Thelabeling theory has always been relevant in explaining the behaviorrelating to crime. This makes it an exceedingly influential andimportant theory in criminology (Vito &amp Maahs, 2012). However,some individuals have recently neglected the theory. The theoryindicates how self-identity and conduct of individuals may becomedetermined by the terms utilized in describing or grouping them. Itis through the theory that ethical challenges of the Patriot Act canbe explained. The purpose of this report is to discuss the ethicalchallenges posed by the Patriot Act specifically the use ofwiretapping by the government. This work will utilize secondaryresources in discussing how the use of wiretapping as provided by thePatriot Act is labeled. It will be indicated that wiretapping islabeled differently by two groups where one group labels it asdeviant while the other group labels it as not deviant. It would berecommended that the government should help in labeling wiretappingappropriately in order to succeed in the war on terror.

Labelingtheory is exceedingly important because it helps individuals inidentifying with a given label. When something is labeled asacceptable or unacceptable, people will try to identify with the sideof the item depending on the label. Wiretapping under the Patriot Acthas been considered an exceedingly vital tool in the fight on terrorhowever, wiretapping has been labeled differently by differentAmericans. On one side it has been labeled as a tool that isnecessary and inevitable while on the other it has been labeled as atool that is not necessary since it leads to loss of right toprivacy. It is important for the government to ensure thatwiretapping is labeled appropriately in order to have success in thewar on terror. Failure to this, the government may not succeed on thewar on terror because of the way people have difference in labelingwiretapping. Therefore, studying of the manner in which wiretappingis labeled is critical in the fight on terror.

Backgroundof the Patriot Act

ThePatriot Act became signed by President George W. Bush following theSeptember 11 attack. The primary aim of forming the Act was to aid infighting terrorism. However, the Act has been perceived to beunethical by Americans due to its violation of some rights providedby the U.S. Constitution. The Patriot Act has been perceived toviolate the rights to privacy emanating from the massive surveillancethat the Act has given to federal officials (Abele, 2005). The denialof the privacy right as provided in the constitution has led tocitizens terming the Act as unethical. According to the Act, federalofficials are given immense authority in tracking and interceptingcommunications that is used for foreign intelligence gathering aswell as law enforcement.

PatriotAct makes adjustments concerning how the government handles onlineactivities as well as surveillance. In respect to the surveillanceused by the government, the Act expands on the approaches that thegovernment utilized before 9/11. Sections 213, 214, 215, and 218 ofthis Act emerge as the four areas that experienced the most radicalchanges. Section 213 expands the ability of the government inconducting secret searches. Having this section extended, thegovernment has the permission to search individuals without notifyingthem until some facts become revealed. This section permits thegovernment to conduct search warrants even for minor crimes (Bhagwat,2010). Section 214 of the Act offers an expansion to the FourthAmendment immunity for spying that collects “addressing”information concerning the origin and target of communications.Section 214 expands the pen register omission of wiretap law. In casethe government desires to access e-mail logs as well as addresses ofpast e-mail correspondents, it only needs to indicate specific factsdepicting reasonable grounds for believing that the information ismaterial and relevant to a given ongoing criminal investigation.Through this section, the government is allowed to obtain a trap/penorder through indicating to the court that the surveillance isrelevant to a certain criminal investigation. Also, through section214, secret courts are given the right of authorizing intelligenceagencies to conduct surveillance this eliminates the various checksthat the government had to go through previously.

Thegovernment is has the power of looking at personal records held by athird party under section 215. According to the section, thegovernment has the power of forcing any company to turn over itspersonal cliental information. This authority offers the governmentfree reign of looking at anyone’s financial records, medicalhistories, and any other information that is on the file. Undersection 218, new tactics of obtaining foreign intelligence areincluded. This section lowers the bar for launch of foreignintelligence wiretaps. The Patriot Act puts to suspension Americancitizen’s personal privacy and requires to be modified in order forthe government’s surveillance conduct is checked and controlled.

PatriotAct Significance

ThePatriot Act has a lot of significance in the area ofcounter-terrorism. One of the significance of the Act is that itallows investigators in using tools that were already available ininvestigating drug trafficking and organized crime. Most of the toolsthat this Act provides to the law enforcement in fighting terrorismhave been in use for decades in fighting drug dealers and organizedcrime, and these tools have been reviewed as well as approved by thecourts (Mullard &amp Cole, 2007). The Act allows law enforcementofficers to use surveillance in the fight against more crimes ofterror. Prior to the Act, courts could allow law enforcement to useelectronic surveillance in investigating most non-terrorism, ordinarycrimes like password fraud, mail fraud and drug crimes. The Actenabled investigators to collect information when searching for afull range of terrorism-related crimes.

Anothersignificance of the Act is that it permits federal officers to followsophisticated terrorists that are trained in evading detection. Thefederal agents have been using roving wiretaps in investigatingordinary crimes, racketeering and drug offenses included. A federaljudge can authorize a roving wiretap to be used in a certain suspectinstead of a given phone or communication device. Since internationalterrorists are perceived to be sophisticated and trained on how tothwart surveillance through rapidly changing communication devicesand locations, the Act authorizes federal agents to seek courtpermission in using the same approach in national securityinvestigations in tracking terrorists (Riley &amp Rand Corporation,2005).

TheAct also allows law enforcement to carry out investigations withoutthe need of tipping off terrorists. When carrying out aninvestigation, it is necessary not to always tip off criminalsbecause in case they are tip off early they may flee, intimidate orkill witnesses, destroy evidence, or cut off contact with theassociates. Thus, federal courts in narrow situations have allowedlaw enforcement officers to delay when a subject is informed that acourt-approved search warrant has been issued. The notice is alwaysgiven however, the reasonable delay provides law enforcement withtime for identifying criminal associates, eliminating immediatethreats to community, and coordination of multiple arrests withouttipping them off before time. Such delayed search notifications havebeen utilized for decades and have been proven critical in organizedcrimes and drug cases, and have been reviewed and upheld by courts asconstitutional.

TheAct also facilitates sharing of information and cooperation amidgovernment agencies in order to better connect information. ThePatriot Act removed major barriers that barred the law enforcement,national defense communities, and intelligence from speaking andcoordinating their work in protecting the American people and thenational security. Through the Act, the federal prosecutors,intelligence officials, police officers, and FBI agents are capableof protecting communities by connecting information in order touncover terrorist plots prior to their completion.

Furthermore,the Patriot Act is significant since it updated the law so as tomirror new technologies as well as new threats. The Act helped inbringing the law up to date with present technology. This impliesthat it is now feasible for law enforcement officials to receive asearch warrant regardless of where a terrorist-related activity hasoccurred. Prior to the Act, law enforcement officers were required toget a search warrant in the district where they intended to carry outa search. Nevertheless, modern terrorism investigations usually spanseveral districts. With the Act, it is now possible for lawenforcement officers to obtain warrants in any district. Thus, theAct helped in streamlining the search-warrant process.

Inaddition, the Patriot Act is also significant because it helped inincreasing the penalties for individuals who commit terrorist crimes.The act aided in creating a new offense, which prohibits harboringpersons that have or are about to commit different terroristoffenses. The Act also enhanced several conspiracy penalties such assabotage of nuclear facilities, attack of communication systems,arson, and killings in federal facilities (Smith &amp Hung, 2010).In previous laws, most of the terrorism statutes did not prohibit theengagement in conspiracies specifically. Besides, the Act enhancedthe insufficient maximum penalties for different crimes that arelikely to be carried by terrorists such as arson, support toterrorist organizations, destruction of energy facilities, and damageof national defense materials.

EthicalDilemma of the Patriot Act

Theethical issue of the Patriot Act comes in due to its provision ofwiretapping that invades people’s personal privacy. Theconstitution offers individuals the right to privacy however, thisAct attempts to deny individuals this right through the practice ofwiretapping (Pollock, 2008). This questions the ethical foundation ofthe Act. In the following paragraphs, the ethical dimension of theAct will be analyzed through establishing whether wiretapping allowedby the Act is ethical or not.

Historyof Wiretapping

Wiretappingtechnology has enabled government to reach past borders in order toprotect the citizens like it has never been imagined. The USgovernment has engaged in wiretapping during 1960’s and 1970’swhen it implemented a widespread wiretapping program as well aspermeation of risky groups thought to be an endangerment to thegovernment. The program was full of abuses and even proceeded to spyLuther King Jr. The Supreme Court sanctioned warrantless wiretapping.Therefore, an individual should be issued with a search warrant thatindicates that wiretapping is being used. However, according to thePatriot Act, the warrant is delayed.

PrivacyIssue

Privacyimplies that an individual has the freedom from having his/herpersonal information and life tampered with. In the Bill of Rightsand the U.S. Constitution, there is nowhere that privacy has beenportrayed as an inalienable right (Cordella, 1996). Some of the lawexperts as well as scholars have used the Fourth Amendment ininferring that all citizens have the right to privacy because of thesearch and seizure section. In establishing that individuals have theright to privacy, most scholars refer to the Griswoldv. Connecticut,which indicated that as individuals, the right to privacy exists(Herman, 2011). Emanating from the technology that exists today,personal privacy is compromised almost all the time via unsolicitedcell phone videos and pictures that are taken without consent,spamming, identity theft, spoofing, and phishing. For the most part,citizens believe that there are circumstances which limit theirprivacy in a soaring technology age (Bhagwat, 2010). Despite this,most citizens argue that they usually still have some control overthe lack of privacy in the technology age. For instance, people canturn off cookies. Nevertheless, there is one area that most citizensbelieve that they do not have the capacity of controllingcyber-technology this is when it comes to the issue of governmentsurveillance. Most individuals living in the U.S. believe that thegovernment cannot do any harm through wiretapping since thegovernment does this with the primary aim of stopping terrorists.Thus, the ethical dilemma that comes in concerns whether thegovernment did any harm by introducing ‘sneak and peek’ oncitizens via the use of wiretapping.

Sidesof the Ethical Dilemma

Thereare two sides of the argument. On one side, the loss of personalprivacy is perceived as inevitable and necessary if the country is tobe protected from terrorist attacks. The other side is against theloss of personal privacy and argues that giving up the basic privacyright is an immense price to pay to the government for beingprotected. On the other hand, opponents that are against wiretappingargue that the government is too big and must be controlled andlimited in what it can do. This can be achieved through due processof rights and avoids misuse and abuse of governmental power.

Thechief uneasiness behind wiretapping is the idea that the governmentgathers and keeps forever, a vast amount of information concerningindividuals in U.S., citizens included. The underlying fear concernswhether the government is maintaining the DNA of every individual sothat it knows everything concerning them. It is out of this fear thatemerges the dilemma of how the citizens can be kept safe, and thesame time not having the government stepping their boundaries ofpersonal privacy, as enshrined in the constitution. The questionwhether the government can be trusted and not abuse the power it hasstill stands.

Theargument against wiretapping by the government is that in casewiretapping is allowed then the government would push the boundariesand attempt to gain as much power as possible. Wiretapping wouldimply that the government would take control over every aspect ofcitizen’s life and implement total rule while ignoring theconstitution. According to individuals supporting this argument, thisgovernmental power cannot be allowed and needs to be stopped whilecitizens still have personal private rights.

Thosethat are in favor of wiretapping believe that the U.S. constitutionhas bestowed powers upon the president to protect the country fromany, individual, group, or nation from conducting an attack on it.Thus, collecting intelligence of all of forms is a key aspect part ofwar on terror. Because U.S. has declared war on terrorism, collectingintelligence should not be perceived as different from any other timeof war. The military and intelligence officers need to know where thetarget it without wiretapping, they would end up shooting in thedark. Individuals in favor of wiretapping are of the opinion thatwiretapping is absolutely ethical and need to be used by theintelligence agencies in protecting the U.S. citizens fromindividuals who desire to do them harm. Since war on terror isdifferent from other wars because the enemy is slippery therefore,the government needs to use wiretapping as a way of getting theslippery enemy.

Supportof Wiretapping

Inthe United States, there are different laws that support wiretapping.One such law is the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)that was passed on 18thSeptember, 2001. According to this law, the president has the powerof using all appropriate and necessary force against organizations,nations, or individuals who he deems they planned, committed,authorized, or aided in the 9/11 attacks. Mostly, warrants forwiretapping can be issued under the Electronic Communications PrivacyAct (EC). This acts permits for traceable devices to be added tophones of the suspects and also show the internet sites visited.Another law that has been passed to support wiretapping is thePatriot Act. This Act authorizes roving wiretaps that allow morepower to the FBI and avoidance of the courts. This Act also upholdsthe Electronic Communications Privacy Act (EC) and wiretapping canonly be conducted in regard to a criminal activity. Because mostterrorists conduct criminal activities, the law then permitswiretapping.

Anotherlaw that supports wiretapping is the Foreign IntelligenceSurveillance Act (FISA). FISA permits the executive branch to get aninterception order through providing that the surveillance willcreate foreign intelligence concerning terrorism to a secret ForeignIntelligence Surveillance court. A unique feature about FISA is thatit is usually directed towards permanent residents, aliens, U.S.citizens, and corporations. In 1998, FISA became amended by Congressto allow pen/trap orders that record telephone numbers as well asbusiness records. Later, through the Patriot Act, the FISA courtbecame bypassed altogether.

Theother law supporting wiretapping is the Homeland Security Act of 2002(Ruschmann &amp Marzilli, 2005). This Act offered increased powersto law enforcement agencies of tracking down suspected criminals andterrorists. The Act also allowed an enhanced e-mail and phonecommunication monitoring. In addition, Protect America Act entailsanother law that supports wiretapping. This Act modernized FISA so asto provide the intelligence community with essential tools that helpin acquiring critical information concerning terrorists that have thedesire of harming America. This Act restores FISA to its initialfocus of protecting the rights of individuals in the U.S., while notacting as an impediment to collecting foreign intelligence on targetsthat are located in foreign nations. The Patriot Act has already madeAmerica safe through enabling the intelligence community to close animportant intelligence gap, which existed prior to the Act becominglaw.

Oppositionto Wiretapping

Accordingto those opposing wiretapping, it needs to be stopped because it isagainst the right to privacy. One of the laws that oppose wiretappingis FISA law. This law scales back the president’s abuse in carryingout foreign intelligence investigations. According to Section 201 ofthe FISA enacted in 1978, FISA should be the exclusive means by whichelectronic surveillance as well as the interception of domestic wire,electronic and oral communications may be conducted. The opponents ofwiretapping have an argument that the government has a lot of powerand still wants the citizens to have no power in ay issue thisemanates from the issue of surveillance where individuals are beingwatched without their knowledge. Because of the government’s powerin conducting the searches, the government no longer requires validreasons for invading an individual’s privacy and may be veryambiguous with the information they offer the general publicregarding their searches and progress in attaining their goal.

Thepassing of the Act can be considered unethical because it has led tothe compromising of Americans’ civil liberties. With the passage ofthe Act, the Americans have a loss in their capacity of keeping theirlives as well as personal affairs out of the public view. Theprovisions of this Act provide government with power to access anunprecedented amount of citizens’ personal information, which isunethical. It is unethical to deny people the rights that they needto have through using power. Personal private rights should berespected at all times and abuse of these rights constitutes anunethical conduct (Tavani, 2007). Prior to the passage of the Act,personal private records were usually protected however, with thepassage of the Act, this right has been taken away from the citizens.Access of private personal records by the government can beconsidered unethical because this may affect an individual’s wellbeing (Herman, 2011). Personal right to privacy can be considered asa very vital liberty and so the infringement of this liberty isperceived as denial of very important right. Therefore, the Act isunethical.

LabelingTheory

Accordingto Nanette (2013), a person tends to embrace labels as a source ofpersonal identity, rather than control their effect of his or herbehavior. Nanette further discusses a paradigm that approaches thevarious aspects of deviance and social control. This implies thatthrough labeling, an individual gets identity. The labeling theoryindicates how self-identity and conduct of individuals may becomedetermined by the terms utilized in describing or grouping them(Deflem, 2006). Labeling theory helps in establishing a direction orperception that an individual would have towards something. When anaspect is labeled deviant, it may lead a person in engaging in theaspect because he is also associated and labeled as such. Therefore,the view of deviance is very critical when the society is handling anissue. It is critical for a society to engage carefully in thelabeling of an aspect as deviant or not (Deflem, 2006).

RelatingPatriot Act &amp Labeling Theory

Accordingto Nanette (2013), an individual tends to embrace the label as asource of personal identity. In relating Patriot Act with labelingtheory, the question that comes across is whether surveillance orwiretapping as provided in the Act is deviant or not. From the aboveanalysis, it has been indicated that there are individuals who labelor perceive wiretapping as necessary and inevitable while otherslabel it as unnecessary and a violation of private rights. Dependingwith these labels, there are those that support wiretapping and thosethat oppose it. According to the labeling theory, people havedifferences in the manner that they perceive things. According toScott (2002), most individuals tend to focus their views on theoffender instead of the victim during labeling. In the case ofwiretapping, individuals who criticize the government on the issueclaiming that it infringes their rights to privacy end up being seenas criminals. This is because they do not want to be searched. Thequestion as to whether individuals who criticize the government dueto their rights should be seen as deviant is of immense importancebecause it helps in bringing out the notion of labeling. Depending onhow individuals label wiretapping, there are different outcomes.

Individualswho label wiretapping as a good option are usually seen to love thegovernment on what it is doing concerning matters of security.According to these individuals, there is nothing wrong with thegovernment infringing their privacy rights in order to achievesuccess in the war on terror. Safety can be perceived to be animportant aspect that these individuals associate their governmentwith. Therefore, these individuals can do anything that would makethe government fight the war on terror to its finality, which evenmeans losing their freedom. On the other hand, those that labelwiretapping as a crime because it ends up hurting their personalprivate rights are lovers of security, but they understand that thereis a level that the government should exercise its power and shouldnot be exceeded. Although everyone desires to be safe, it is notright to infringe one’s rights in attainment of security, unless itis on very critical grounds. Therefore, all that these individualsfight for is a limit to exercise of the government power.

IsWiretapping Deviant or Not?

Inanswering this question, two sides will be considered. On one side,it will be argued that wiretapping can be labeled as deviant while onthe other it is not. According to James (2009), labeling is importantin defining deviance. When an individual labels a thing in a givenmanner, he/she ends up defining whether the thing is deviant or not.In simple terms, an item that is deviant is an item that havesocietal disapproval ad is made to be so by individuals. Thewiretapping provided for in the Patriot Act can be considered asdeviant because it deprives of individuals an important right, whichis provided for in the constitution. It is the right of the Americansto enjoy the right to privacy however, wiretapping ensures that thisright is not enjoyed. Through wiretapping, the government uses powerto ensure that the right to privacy is not enjoyed. As humans, anyonewould like to keep his life as a secret and reveal parts that areonly necessary to other parties. However, when using wiretapping, allcommunications and personal life information is revealed to thegovernment because the government puts its citizens undersurveillance without them knowing. Those that feel that the action isdeviant argue that the government needs to look for other ways thatit can fight terrorism other than using wiretapping, which affectsthe rights of individuals.

Onthe other hand, wiretapping is not deviant because of its benefits tothe society. Although wiretapping is considered to deprive Americansthe right to privacy, it has been considered an important aspect inthe fight against terror (Ruschmann &amp Marzilli, 2015). Terroristsare usually perceived to use sophisticated means and tools inconducting their activities. This implies that the use of simplemethods in fighting terrorism may not succeed since terrorists mayoutsmart the simple approaches used. This makes the use ofwiretapping a critical approach in fighting terrorism. Throughwiretapping, it has been possible for America to keep the citizenssafe. Thus, emanating from the benefit that wiretapping brings to theAmericans, it cannot be considered deviant.

Outcomeof Labeling

Becausedifferent Americans label wiretapping differently, there is adifference in the way the two groups view war on terror. Theindividuals who label wiretapping as deviant usually see the war onterror as aspect that forces them to lose their civil liberties. Thisis because it is the war on terror that makes the government to gofor wiretapping. In case, there was no war on terror, the Americanscould probably be enjoying their rights to privacy however, the waron terror has led to loss of these rights. On the other hand, thosethat label wiretapping as not deviant do not blame the war on terrorfor their freedom. These individuals tend to be satisfied that thegovernment is using the power that it has in fighting for theirsafety. To them, loss of civil liberties is not important as the waron terror. Because of the difference in the outcome, it is criticalfor the government to consider coming up with a solution that wouldmake wiretapping well labeled. This would help in having unity in thewar on terror.

FutureResearch/Recommendation

Thegovernment is in a dilemma concerning whether it should use power andwin the war on terror or it should give back citizens some power andstop using wiretapping in the fight on terror. From the research, ithas emerged that there are two groups of Americans that labelwiretapping differently. There are those that perceive thatwiretapping has led to their loss of part of their civil liberties,and thus have blame on the government for the use of wiretapping. Onthe other hand, there are those that label wiretapping as necessaryand inevitable and thus do not blame the government for the use ofwiretapping. There is need for the government to ensure that themanner in which individuals label wiretapping is harmonized in orderto have success on the war on terror. A future research is requiredin order to establish whether wiretapping has been successful in thefight against terror. The future research will help in determiningwhether it would be necessary to use wiretapping or other methods canbe used. Besides, the future research can help the government inlabeling the use of wiretapping as deviant or not.

Conclusion

Labelingtheory argues that a person tends to embrace labels as a source ofpersonal identity, rather than control their effect of his or herbehavior. Labeling theory is seen as being important in the issue ofgovernment using wiretapping as an approach to fight against terror.The labeling of wiretapping as an approach to fighting terror hasbeen labeled differently by Americans. Individuals who labelwiretapping as deviant usually see the war on terror as an aspectthat forces them to lose their civil liberties. This is because it isthe war on terror that makes the government to go for wiretapping. Incase, there was no war on terror, the Americans could probably beenjoying their rights to privacy however, the war on terror has ledto loss of these rights. On the other hand, those who labelwiretapping as not deviant do not blame the war on terror for theirfreedom. These individuals tend to be satisfied that the governmentis using the power that it has in fighting for their safety. The useof wiretapping is justified because terrorists are usually perceivedto use sophisticated means and tools in conducting their activities.This implies that the use of simple methods in fighting terrorism maynot succeed since terrorists may outsmart the simple approaches used.Nevertheless, loss of personal privacy rights is encouraged by theuse of wiretapping. The question is whether the government shouldcontinue using wiretapping or should come up with other approachesthat would secure the civil liberties of Americans. It is importantto carry out a research that would identify whether wiretapping isefficient in fighting terrorism. This will help in labelingwiretapping appropriately.

References

Abele,R. P. (2005). Auser`s guide to the USA Patriot Act and beyond.Lanham, Md. [u.a.: Univ. Press of America.

Bhagwat,A. A. (2010). Themyth of rights: The purposes and limits of constitutional rights.New York: Oxford University Press.

Cordella,P. (1996). Readingsin contemporary criminological theory.Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press.

Deflem,M. (2006). Sociologicaltheory and criminological research: views from Europe and the UnitedStates.Amsterdam: Elsevier JAI.

Herman,S. N. (2011). TakingLiberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy.Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA.

James,H. (2009). Defining Deviance: John Kitsuse’s Modest Agenda,AmericanSociologist,May2009, Vol. 40 Issue 1/2, pp. 51-60.

Mullard,M., &amp Cole, B. (2007). Globalisation,citizenship and the war on terror.Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Nanette,D. (2013). Labeling Theory in Deviance Research: A Critique andReconsideration, SociologicalQuarterly, Autumn72,Vol. 13 Issue 4, pp. 447-474.

Pollock,J. (2008). EthicalDilemmas and Decisions in Criminal justice (6 ed.).KY: Wadsworth Publishing.

Riley,K. J., &amp Rand Corporation. (2005). Stateand local intelligence in the war on terrorism.Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corp.

Ruschmann,P., &amp Marzilli, A. (2005). Thewar on terror.Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers.

Scott,K.J. (2002). Victims of crime and labeling theory: a parallelprocess? DeviantBehavior,May2002, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p235-265.

Smith,C. S., &amp Hung, L.-C. (2010). ThePatriot Act: Issues and controversies.Springfield, Ill: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.

Tavani,H. T. (2007). Ethics&amp Technology: Ethical Issues in an Age of Information andCommunication Technology (2nd Ed.).Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Vito,G. F., &amp Maahs, J. R. (2012). Criminology:Theory, research, and policy.Sudbury, Mass: Jones &amp Bartlett Learning.

LABELING THEORY AS EVIDENCED IN PATRIOT ACT 21

LabelingTheory as Evidenced in Patriot Act

Abstract

Labelingtheory mirrors around the aspect of labeling, assigning or describinga person or something using certain terms. This is a theory that hasbeen in existence for an extremely long time. It is a theory thatasserts that people who a labeled in a particular way end up behavingin such ways in a bid to conform to the generally known terms thatthey are described with. This theory is largely evident in thePatriot Act as it will be explained in this research paper. Thisresearch paper was done in order to identify how the labeling theoryhas been manifested in the Patriot Act of 2011 which was signed byPresident Bush (Adams,1996).The main objective of this paper is to find out how the ethicalissues surrounding the Patriot Act are associated with the labelingtheory (Abele, 2005). It will be found out that the aspect ofwiretapping in the Patriot Act is a highly debatable issue and thisdepends on how different people label it.

Inorder to find out the above, there were various research methods thatwere utilized. To start with, the research relied heavily onliterature such as books and journals. Additionally, crediblewebsites were essential in the research and in the process ofgathering the information. The Patriot Act was of immense use in thediscussion of the various ethical issues surrounding the Act (Adams,1996).There were a number of findings at the end of this research. It wasfound out that different people label the process of wiretapping as adeviant behavior by the government while others consider it as theright thing to do. It was found out that the government conductingsurveillance through wiretapping as a way of gathering data which isessential in the provision of security to the people. The researchconcludes by stating that wiretapping receives varying labeling(Abele, 2005). As stated above, there are people who would ratherhave their security and lose the liberty of privacy. On the contrary,there are people who believe that wiretapping is deviant and violatesthe right to privacy. It is recommended that there should beadditional research to find out whether wiretapping has beensuccessful in fighting terrorism. Additionally, it is alsorecommended that the government should try other means through whichit can curb terrorism apart from tapping on people’s privateconversations.

Thepatriot Act has had an ethical issue for a long period. This is inrelation to the issue of privacy when it comes to the tapping ofpeople’s private conversations. There are people who havecontinually argued that this is a deviant behavior by the governmentwhile others assert that it is right for the government to tap suchconversations. It is evident that the behavior by the governmentofficials is being labeled differently by different people. This iskind of labeling that he labeling theory tries to deal with. Thegovernment is bound to continue tapping on people’s conversationssince it has already been labeled as being deviant in its behaviors.

Labelingtheory is exceedingly important because it helps individuals inidentifying with a given label. When something is labeled asacceptable or unacceptable, people will try to identify with the sideof the item depending on the label. Wiretapping under the Patriot Acthas been considered an exceedingly vital tool in the fight on terrorhowever, wiretapping has been labeled differently by differentAmericans. On one side it has been labeled as a tool that isnecessary and inevitable while on the other it has been labeled as atool that is not necessary since it leads to loss of right to privacy(Herman, 2011). It is important for the government to ensure thatwiretapping is labeled appropriately in order to have success in thewar on terror. Failure to this, the government may not succeed on thewar on terror because of the way people have difference in labelingwiretapping. Therefore, studying of the manner in which wiretappingis labeled is critical in the fight on terror.

Backgroundof the Patriot Act

ThePatriot Act became signed by President George W. Bush following theSeptember 11 attack. The primary aim of forming the Act was to aid infighting terrorism. However, the Act has been perceived to beunethical by Americans due to its violation of some rights providedby the U.S. Constitution. The Patriot Act has been perceived toviolate the rights to privacy emanating from the massive surveillancethat the Act has given to federal officials (Abele, 2005). The denialof the privacy right as provided in the constitution has led tocitizens terming the Act as unethical. According to the Act, federalofficials are given immense authority in tracking and interceptingcommunications that is used for foreign intelligence gathering aswell as law enforcement.

TheAct brought along changes with regards to how the government carriesout surveillance. In respect to the surveillance used by thegovernment, the Act expands on the approaches that the governmentutilized before 9/11. Sections 213, 214, 215, and 218 of this Actemerge as the four areas that experienced vital changes (Deflem,2006). Section 213 allows the law enforcement officers in conductingsecret searches. Having this section extended, the government has thepermission to search individuals without notifying them until somefacts become revealed. It is essential to asserts that the searchcovers even in small and or minor crimes (Bhagwat, 2010). Section 214of the Act offers an expansion to the Fourth Amendment immunity forspying that collects “addressing” information concerning theorigin and target of communications.

Thegovernment has the power of looking at people’s personal data thisis not in their custody. The law enforcement officers have been giventhe power to compel employing companies to avail employees’personal information (Bhagwat, 2010). The government through the lawenforcement officers can collect any information such as medicalrecords and financial information of the employees. This authorityoffers the government free reign of looking at anyone’s financialrecords, medical histories, and any other information that is on thefile. Under section 218, new tactics of obtaining foreignintelligence are included. It is clear that the act does not put intoconsideration the privacy of the people and therefore thesurveillance by the government must be controlled.

PatriotAct Significance

TheAct allows use of already existing tools and technology

Researchhas indicated that the Patriot Act has relied upon tools that havebeen in use in the fight against various crimes such as drugtrafficking. It is notable that the surveillance that is used by theAct has been in use for decades in the fight against other crimes(Mullard &amp Cole, 2007). Additionally, the surveillance by the Acthas been permitted by the judicial system in the United States. It isclear that surveillance was being used in the fight against othermajor and minor crimes such cyber crimes (Cordella, 1996). Theapplication of digital surveillance was only an extension of the lawtowards fighting terrorism.

Followup on terrorists who avoid detection

Accordingto this research and previous literature, it is clear that the Acthas allowed law enforcers to track down the most notorious criminalswho are known to avoid detection. It is evidently clear that thereare some terrorists who are smart enough to change location andcommunication devices to evade detection and arrest (Cordella, 1996).The wiretapping that is provided for in the Act allows the lawenforcers to follow up on such terrorist and arrest them before theycommit crimes. Additionally, the courts can order for the searcheswith delayed notifications to the suspects to avoid detection andpossible harm to the witnesses and or the members of the community.It is known that terrorists would commit crimes if they detect thatthey are being sought after by the police (Riley &amp RandCorporation, 2005).

Easein carrying out investigations

Underthis Act, the law enforcement officers are given powers to conductsearches without having given the criminals notifications (James,2009).This is due to the fact that the terrorists would flee or destroy theevidence and or cut down on communication if they are notified of thesearches (Pollock, 2008). This is an essential aspect as it allowsthe law enforcement officers to arrest criminals before they flee orcommit any crimes. It is also essential to note that such criminalshave severally killed or threatened witnesses if search warrantnotifications are issued to them. It is therefore clear that the Acthas provisions that are critical to the process of maintaining lawand order. It is paramount to note that the delayed search warrantnotifications is a strategy that has been in use for several yearsand it has proven to be extremely useful in dealing with crimesincluding drug trafficking and cyber crime (Pollock, 2008).

Sharingof information

Anothermajor significance of the Act is that it allowed the variousgovernment security agencies such as the FBI, Police officers and theprosecutors to share information relating to terrorist activities ina bid to protect the American people’s lives and property (Mullard&amp Cole 2007). Prior to the Act, the various security agencieswere barred from sharing and connecting information and data relateto criminal activities (Mullard &amp Cole 2007). This sharing ofinformation has been extremely vital in unearthing and uncoveringvarious terrorist activities and thwarting terrorist attacks thatwould have been detrimental to the American people.

PatriotAct updated the law

Anothernotable significance of the Act is that it brought to modernity theinvestigative arm of the government. The law allowed the applicationof technology in tracking terrorists. It is also evident that the lawenforcement officers can now conducted searches anywhere in anydistrict without having obtained the search warrant from thatdistrict (Scott,2002).This was not the case prior to the law. It is essential to note thatthe terrorists might be staying anywhere across the districts andtherefore the update to the law was extremely vital in curbingterrorism (Smith &amp Hung, 2010).

Createda penalty for terrorists

Lastly,the Act created a new crime of terrorism with complete penalties andconditions of people suspected to be terrorists. The law statesclearly that the state cannot harbor people who are suspected ofbeing terrorists or people who are suspected of planning to committerrorist activities. The law also prohibits terrorists from engagingin various conspiracy activities such as attack on communicationsystems (Riley &amp Rand Corporation, 2005). Penalties associatedwith terrorists’ penalties such as killings were also enhanced bythe Act hence deterring people from engaging in terrorist activities.

EthicalDilemma of the Patriot Act

Theethical issue of the Patriot Act comes in due to its provision ofwiretapping that invades people’s personal privacy. Theconstitution offers individuals the right to privacy however, thisAct attempts to deny individuals this right through the practice ofwiretapping (Pollock, 2008). This questions the ethical foundation ofthe Act. In the following paragraphs, the ethical dimension of theAct will be analyzed through establishing whether wiretapping allowedby the Act is ethical or not (Riley &amp Rand Corporation, 2005).

Historyof Wiretapping

Wiretappingtechnology has been extremely vital in ensuring that the governmentis able to protect people from terrorists within and outside thecountry. Research has indicated that the US government engaged inwiretapping in the 70’s on various people and groups which werebelieved to be a threat to the people (Joongyeup et al., 2014). Theprogram was full of abuses and even proceeded to spy Luther King Jr.The Supreme Court sanctioned warrantless wiretapping (Riley &ampRand Corporation, 2005). Therefore, an individual should be issuedwith a search warrant that indicates that wiretapping is being used.However, according to the Patriot Act, the warrant is delayed.

PrivacyIssue

Itis vital to state that this law has been surrounded by thecontroversy of over the issue privacy. Although there is no sectionin the constitution where the right to privacy is stated as being analienable right, it is clear that the right has been highly guardedby lawmakers (Bhagwat, 2010). Wiretapping has been associated withthe interference of people’s privacy since it listens to privateconversations amongst citizens. Whereas there are instances where thepeople can stop the interference of their privacy such as turning offcookies in their computers and tablets, it is abundantly clear thatthe wiretapping by the government is unstoppable. It is essential tonote that there is always interference with privacy through aspectssuch as spamming and phishing (Bhagwat, 2010). There is always adilemma as to whether the government interferes with people’sprivacy with regards to wiretapping.

Sidesof the Ethical Dilemma

Thereare two sides of the argument. On one side, the loss of personalprivacy is perceived as inevitable and necessary if the country is tobe protected from terrorist attacks. The other side is against theloss of personal privacy and argues that giving up the basic privacyright is an immense price to pay to the government for beingprotected (Bhagwat, 2010). On the contrary, it is argued that thegovernment has unlimited resources in terms of human resource and itis therefore essential to control the activities of government withregards to personal privacy.

Thebiggest worry is that the data collected by the government officialsis normally kept for a long period by the government. It is notedthat the government keeps or stores data related to the Americancitizens. The underlying fear concerns whether the government ismaintaining the DNA of every individual so that it knows everythingconcerning them (Bhagwat, 2010). This fear explains the dilemma thatexists of how to protect the people and at the same time keepingpeople safe as enshrine in the constitution (Bhagwat, 2010). Thequestion whether the government can be trusted and not abuse thepower it has still stands.

Theargument against wiretapping by the government is that it is possiblefor the government to overstep its mandate and abuse the process ofwiretapping. There is the likelihood that the government would takeover the control of people’s lives in every aspect and this wouldamount to abuse of power as well as impunity (Ruschmann &ampMarzilli 2005). According to individuals supporting this argument,this governmental power cannot be allowed and needs to be stoppedwhile citizens still have personal private rights.

Itis abundantly clear that the US is totally against terrorism andtherefore the president has the duty and the responsibility toprotect the people and their property against acts of terrorism(Ruschmann &amp Marzilli 2005). People supporting wiretapping arguethat the government led by the president should use any means toprotect people. It is clear that terrorism is not different from anyother form of crime and therefore the government should use all meansto protect the people. The military and intelligence officers usewiretapping as a way of pointing out where exactly the criminals are.Individuals in favor of wiretapping are of the opinion thatwiretapping is moral and it need to be used by the intelligenceagencies in protecting the U.S. citizens from individuals who desireto do them harm. Since war on terror is different from other warsbecause the enemy is slippery therefore, the government needs to usewiretapping as a way of getting the slippery enemy.

Supportof Wiretapping

Authorizationfor Use of Military Force (AUMF)

Inthe United States, there are different laws that support wiretapping.One such law is the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)that was passed on 18thSeptember, 2001. According to this law, the president has the powerof using all appropriate and necessary force towards the arrest andprosecution of any person or group that aided the terrorist attack of2011. Wiretapping can be conducted under the ElectronicCommunications Privacy Act (EC). The law has allowed the lawenforcers to use mobile phones and websites visited as a way oftracing criminals. Another law that has been passed to supportwiretapping is the Patriot Act. This Act authorizes roving wiretapsthat allow more power to the FBI and avoidance of the courts. ThisAct also upholds the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (EC) andwiretapping can only be conducted in regard to a criminal activity.Because most terrorists conduct criminal activities, the law thenpermits wiretapping.

IntelligenceSurveillance Act (FISA)

Anotherlaw that supports wiretapping is the Foreign IntelligenceSurveillance Act (FISA). FISA permits the executive branch to get aninterception order through providing that the surveillance willcreate foreign intelligence concerning terrorism to a secret ForeignIntelligence Surveillance court. A unique feature about FISA is thatit is usually directed towards permanent residents, aliens, U.S.citizens, and corporations. In 1998, FISA became amended by Congressto allow pen/trap orders that record telephone numbers as well asbusiness records. Later, through the Patriot Act, the FISA courtbecame bypassed altogether.

HomelandSecurity Act of 2002

Theother law supporting wiretapping is the Homeland Security Act of 2002(Ruschmann &amp Marzilli, 2005). This Act offered increased powersto law enforcement agencies of tracking down suspected criminals andterrorists. The Act also allowed an enhanced e-mail and phonecommunication monitoring. In addition, Protect America Act entailsanother law that supports wiretapping. This Act modernized FISA so asto provide the intelligence community with essential tools that helpin acquiring critical information concerning terrorists that have thedesire of harming America. This Act restores FISA to its initialfocus of protecting the rights of individuals in the U.S., while notacting as an impediment to collecting foreign intelligence on targetsthat are located in foreign nations (Ruschmann &amp Marzilli 2005).The Patriot Act has already made America safe through enabling theintelligence community to close an important intelligence gap, whichexisted prior to the Act becoming law.

Oppositionto Wiretapping

FISAlaw against wiretapping

Accordingto those opposing wiretapping, it needs to be stopped because it isagainst the right to privacy. One of the laws that oppose wiretappingis FISA law. This law scales back the president’s abuse in carryingout foreign intelligence investigations (Tavani, 2007). The opponentsof wiretapping have an argument that the government has a lot ofpower and still wants the citizens to have no power in ay issue thisemanates from the issue of surveillance where individuals are beingwatched without their knowledge. The government has been given powersto conduct searches and therefore may conduct searches without anynotification. Additionally, the information that gets to the publicis limited since the government has control over it.

Thepassing of the Act can be considered unethical because it has led tothe compromising Americans’ civil liberties. With the passage ofthe Act, the Americans have a loss in their capacity of keeping theirlives private away from the public. The provisions of this Actprovide government with power to access an unprecedented amount ofcitizens’ personal information, which is unethical. It is unethicalto deny people the rights that they need to have through using power.Personal private rights should be respected at all times and abuse ofthese rights constitutes an unethical conduct (Tavani, 2007). Priorto the passage of the Act, personal private records were usuallyprotected however, with the passage of the Act, this right has beentaken away from the citizens. Access of private personal records bythe government can be considered unethical because this may affect anindividual’s well being (Herman, 2011). Personal right to privacycan be considered as a very vital liberty and so the infringement ofthis liberty is perceived as denial of very important right.Therefore, the Act is unethical.

Definitionof Labeling Theory

Accordingto Nanette (2013), a person tends to embrace labels as a source ofpersonal identity, rather than control their effect of his or herbehavior (Mike,1996).Nanette further discusses a paradigm that approaches the variousaspects of deviance and social control. This implies that throughlabeling, an individual gets identity. The labeling theory indicateshow self-identity and conduct of individuals may become determined bythe terms utilized in describing or grouping them (Deflem, 2006).Labeling theory helps in establishing a direction or perception thatan individual would have towards something. When an aspect is labeleddeviant, it may lead a person in engaging in the aspect because he isalso associated and labeled as such. Therefore, the view of devianceis very critical when the society is handling an issue. It iscritical for a society to engage carefully in the labeling of anaspect as deviant or not (Deflem, 2006).

RelatingPatriot Act &amp Labeling Theory

Accordingto Nanette (2013), an individual tends to embrace the label as asource of personal identity. In relating Patriot Act with labelingtheory, the question that comes across is whether surveillance orwiretapping as provided in the Act is deviant or not. The act ofwiretapping is the behavior that is being associated with thegovernment or is being used to define the government. From the aboveanalysis, it has been indicated that there are individuals who labelor perceive wiretapping as necessary and inevitable while otherslabel it as unnecessary and a violation of private rights. Dependingon these labels, there are those that support wiretapping and thosethat oppose it. According to the labeling theory, people havedifferences in the manner that they perceive things. According toScott (2002), most individuals tend to focus their views on theoffender instead of the victim during labeling. In the case ofwiretapping, individuals who criticize the government on the issueclaiming that it infringes their rights to privacy end up being seenas criminals. This is because they do not want to be searched. Thequestion as to whether individuals who criticize the government dueto their rights should be seen as deviant is of immense importancebecause it helps in bringing out the notion of labeling. Depending onhow individuals label wiretapping, there are different outcomes(Mike,1996).

Individualswho label wiretapping as a good option are usually seen to love thegovernment on what it is doing concerning matters of security.According to these individuals, there is nothing wrong with thegovernment infringing their privacy rights in order to achievesuccess in the war on terror (Mike,1996).Safety can be perceived to be an important aspect that theseindividuals associate their government with. Therefore, theseindividuals can do anything that would make the government fight thewar on terror to its finality, which even means losing their freedom(Mike,1996).On the other hand, those that label wiretapping as a crime because itends up hurting their personal private rights are lovers of security,but they understand that there is a level that the government shouldexercise its power and should not be exceeded. Although everyonedesires to be safe, it is not right to infringe one’s rights inattainment of security, unless it is on very critical grounds.Therefore, all that these individuals fight for is a limit toexercise of the government power.

IsWiretapping Deviant or Not?

Argumentfor deviant

Inanswering this question, two sides will be considered. On one side,it will be argued that wiretapping can be labeled as deviant while onthe other it is not. According to James (2009), labeling is importantin defining deviance. When an individual labels a thing in a givenmanner, he/she ends up defining whether the thing is deviant or not.In simple terms, an item that is deviant is an item that has societaldisapproval and is made to be so by individuals. The wiretappingprovided for in the Patriot Act can be considered as deviant becauseit deprives of individuals an important right, which is provided forin the constitution. It is the right of the Americans to enjoy theright to privacy however, wiretapping ensures that this right is notenjoyed (Nanette, 2013). Through wiretapping, the government usespower to ensure that the right to privacy is not enjoyed. As humans,anyone would like to keep his life as a secret and reveal parts thatare only necessary to other parties. However, when using wiretapping,all communications and personal life information is revealed to thegovernment because the government puts its citizens undersurveillance without them knowing. Those that feel that the action isdeviant argue that the government needs to look for other ways thatit can fight terrorism other than using wiretapping, which affectsthe rights of individuals (Nanette, 2013).

Argumentagainst deviant

Onthe other hand, wiretapping is not deviant because of its benefits tothe society. Although wiretapping is considered to deprive Americansthe right to privacy, it has been considered an important aspect inthe fight against terror (Ruschmann &amp Marzilli, 2015). Terroristsare usually perceived to use sophisticated means and tools inconducting their activities. This implies that the use of simplemethods in fighting terrorism may not succeed since terrorists mayoutsmart the simple approaches used. This makes the use ofwiretapping a critical approach in fighting terrorism. Throughwiretapping, it has been possible for America to keep the citizenssafe (Vito &amp Maahs, 2012). Thus, emanating from the benefit thatwiretapping brings to the Americans, it cannot be considered deviant.

Outcomeof Labeling

Becausedifferent Americans label wiretapping differently, there is adifference in the way the two groups view war on terror. Theindividuals who label wiretapping as deviant usually see the war onterror as an aspect that forces them to lose their civil liberties.This is because it is the war on terror that makes the government togo for wiretapping. In case, there was no war on terror, theAmericans could probably be enjoying their rights to privacyhowever, the war on terror has led to loss of these rights (Vito &ampMaahs, 2012). On the other hand, those that label wiretapping as notdeviant do not blame the war on terror for their freedom. Theseindividuals tend to be satisfied that the government is using thepower that it has in fighting for their safety. To them, loss ofcivil liberties is not important as the war on terror. Because of thedifference in the outcome, it is critical for the government toconsider coming up with a solution that would make wiretapping welllabeled. This would help in having unity in the war on terror.

FutureResearch/Recommendation

Thegovernment is in a dilemma concerning whether it should use power andwin the war on terror or it should give back citizens some power andstop using wiretapping in the fight on terror. From the research, ithas emerged that there are two groups of Americans that labelwiretapping differently (Herman, 2011). There is need for thegovernment to ensure that the manner in which individuals labelwiretapping is harmonized in order to have success on the war onterror (Vito &amp Maahs, 2012). A future research is required inorder to establish whether wiretapping has been successful in thefight against terror. The future research will help in determiningwhether it would be necessary to use wiretapping or other methods canbe used. Besides, the future research can help the government inlabeling the use of wiretapping as deviant or not.

Conclusion

Theresearch above has clearly indicated that there is evidence oflabeling theory in the Patriot Act. This has been brought out throughthe ethical issue of privacy surrounding the Act. Different peopleholding varying opinions have presented varying opinions regardingthe use of surveillance by the government (Vito &amp Maahs, 2012).Wiretapping or the digital surveillance on people’s privateconversation has been termed as a deviant behavior by some people.However, it is also clear from the research that there are somepeople who believe that this is the right approach to address theissue of terrorism in the United States (Vito &amp Maahs, 2012).Labeling theory has helped identify why the government continues toengage in wiretapping despite opposition from some people. As statedin the research, labeling makes the victim being accused to getinclined to the behavior he or she being accused of. This is the samecase with the government in this scenario. Recommendations have beenmade on the government to look for alternative means of handlingterrorism besides wiretapping. Additional research has also beenrecommended to find out the benefits of wiretapping.

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