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Though McLeod rightly claims that our rights under the 1st Amendment have been curtailed through a rise in copyrighted material, he is wrong to include in his arguments gathering and protection of personal information for homeland security purposes. McLeod notes, “Information about citizens is collected by private companies and guarded for corporate purposes, or the use of the highest bidder” (245). The “Multistate Anti-TeRrorism Information eXchange (MATRIX) is such a program. With the MATRIX program, the US government collects information from private databases and uses it to its own ends” (McLeod 245). Though McLeod is not completely wrong to point out and argue against the dangers of this innovation. The MATRIX program implies that most of the information that was previously public is now proprietary thus it is privately owned. MATRIX collects data on every citizen. According to McCleod, “MATRIX collects a wide range of data, including pictures of the subject, one’s neighbors and family members” (McLeod, 245). Also, this information is proprietary. Although this information is a collection of events and facts from a personal as well as public life of an individual, the owner and creator of this information, i.e. the individual whose data was collected, has no access to it. The Freedom of Information Act does not extend to ordinary citizens as the information has been privatized (McCleod 245). According to the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 USC 552a, cl.e, the executive has the right to collect personal information for the purpose of protecting the homeland security. However, individuals have a right to be informed of changes or disclosures of such information. By 2004, data was collected on 120,000 individuals, who were viewed as having “high terrorism factor” (Krouse 3). In cases where the use of MATRIX program is not kept in check then, the misuse of the privatized information is bound to happen (McLeod 247). McLeod cites Lt. Col. Ralph Periandi, deputy commissioner for operations with the Pennsylvania state police, who argues that these data will not be used for anti - terrorist activities only (246). They are open to misuse by the members of the US law enforcement agencies. Democracy will be cut by such actions of misuse of private information The democratic right to innovate too is tied up by such practice, as the case of ElcomSoft proves. An employee of this company attended a conference where he intended to make public an ebook reader, a tool which would allow consumers to copy books legally onto a personal computer, once they paid for this service (McLeod 248). The employee was arrested, though later acquitted together with his company, as US jury decided that they were not aware of US laws regarding intellectual property rights. Despite the arguments made by McLeod, some points about legal protection of the right to privacy should not be missed. Indeed, companies use cookies to collect private data such as IP address, or the social security number (Legal Information Institute). And databases collecting data about every aspect of a person’s life intrude the private sphere. However, some of this data is given away consensually by individuals. Laws attempt to protect every sphere of an individual’ ...Show more


Amber Steimer Media Outlaws December 19 2012 Argument and Analysis: Copyright and the 1St Amendment The corporate world has led developments in copyright law, which favors curtailment of fair use this is according to McLeod. Another side of the copyright law is the fair use, which aims to protect innovations by encouraging them through reproduction and use of parts of copyrighted material (Public Law 112 - 131)…
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