Homeland Security

Differentiate between civil rights and civil liberties

Civil rights and civil liberties are used interchangeably in the public discourse, but they stand for two different principles. Civil rights, on the one hand, protect people from discrimination by individuals and the government. They are obtained from the Fourteenth Amendment in the ‘Equal Protection’ clause. They guarantee fairness for all citizens, and the 1965Voting Rights and the 1964 Civil Rights act are the leading examples of the regulations put in place to guarantee equality. On the other hand, civil liberties are in line with the Fourteenth Amendment “Due Process” Clause and the Bill of Right. Examples of civil liberties include peoples’ rights to hold arms, to privacy as well as to freedom of speech.

Civil rights are given by the government to protect the citizens from preventing discrimination and ensuring equality among all citizens. They ensure that individuals are not discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, religion, race, age, and gender. It follows that they are based on the protection of a group of individuals such as African Americans, Hispanics that are faced with discrimination. On the other hand, civil liberties are fundamental rights that are enjoyed by all individuals without any specialty. They are aimed at giving individuals protection from a tyrannical government.

Civil rights and liberties vary concerning the role played by the government. While civil rights are a representation of the constructive actions undertaken by the government, civil liberties are the rights that offer citizens protection against government actions. The other significant disparity lies in their origin. Civil rights have been obtained from the 14th and 13th amendments of the Constitution while some are derived from litigation ratified by the Federal government. Various municipal laws and state constitutions protect the rights as well. Conversely, civil liberties are covered in sections of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The remaining civil rights are based on interpretation of lower federal courts and the Supreme Court. It can be observed that local and State laws do not play a pivotal role in the protection of civil liberties.

The examples of civil rights and civil liberties vary and show apparent differences between the concepts. To start with examples of civil rights include the Age Discrimination in Employment Act that protects individuals aged over forty years from discrimination in the workplace, the Fourteenth Amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination based on parameters including religion, sex, and race. The constitutional amendments that have amounted to civil liberties entail the right to life, freedom of speech, right to equal legal protection, the right to meet for peaceful purposes.

The origin of both concepts varies, and this results in different applications. The idea of civil rights originated from the struggles of African Americans against discrimination. Its use stated following the conclusion of the civil war after the 14th Amendment was put in place to address the plight of the African Americans that had gained their freedom. The concept became popular during the Civil Rights Movement. Civil liberties originated from the Magna Carta which accorded England citizens equal rights in the 13th century. When the American states attained independence, they advocated for the Bill of rights to be included in the Constitution. Civil rights and liberties differ in prince as the former is based on a democratic government while the latter states that citizens have significant authority over the government.

The Challenges of Balancing Civil Liberties and Security

The government faces the challenge of ensuring the balance between civil liberties and security in the light of terrorism and cyber attacks. There have been concerns among the members of the public about the government collecting private information from the internet and phone records. This sheds more light on the willingness of the Americans to give up their civil liberties to promote national security. It follows that most of Americans are concerned about their privacy in the light of increased awareness on social freedoms. The public perception of national security changed significantly following the 9/11 terror attack. On the other hand, only a limited number of individuals are willing to give up their civil liberties to promote national security. This remains one of the leading challenges in establishing the balance between national security and civil liberties.

There should be no tension between civil liberty and national security in the discourse of maintaining a proper balance between them. It can be observed that the policies that are aimed at improving the country’s protection against external threats do not essentially undercut the civil liberties of the people. Although this is the position that the government holds with regards to balancing between civil liberties and security, citizens have pointed out that they have been adversely affected by routines such as security checks and unauthorized access of personal information. The government and the stakeholders recognize the assertion that an infringement of security threatens civil liberties. This means that the actions that are taken by the government and the security agencies are aimed at ensuring that Americans enjoy civil liberties.

Terrorism has gained growing concern over the years, and the government and security agencies are of the opinion that national security should be improved through preventive measures. It follows that the surveillance program that was introduced by President George Bush in 2005 has been perceived by some Americans to be an infringement on their privacy. The plan approved the monitor of emails and calls by the National Security Agency without obtaining permission from the court. There were concerns among civil liberties advocates that asserted that the move imposed on the privacy of American citizens. It was argued that the law enforcement agencies could use the program to target individuals unfairly upon the suspicion that they had terrorist ties. On the other hand, the move was found to be effective in fighting against terrorism that would pave the way for American citizens to enjoy their civil liberties.

There is a sharp divide in the opinion that the public has on national security versus civil liberties. However, incidents of domestic and external terrorism have continued to shape views on the topic. It can be concluded that national security should be prioritized as it ensures that Americans can enjoy civil liberties in a safe environment. The measures that have been put in place by the government and security and security organizations should ensure that individuals’ rights are adhered to while conducting operations such as searches. It can be seen that the challenge in maintaining the balance between security and civil liberties will continue affecting the country that is faced by cyber attacks and terrorism calling for vigilance on addressed security threats. It is clear that the balance is dependent on the security status as well as the welfare of the citizens.

Safeguards in Place to Protect Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Americans have expressed concerns about the new measures that have been introduced to fight terrorism. However, most of them have been criticized for infringing upon civil rights and liberties. These can be protected using safeguards that promote the welfare and freedom of the citizens. Any measures introduced to should not go against the Constitution that is the origin of the civil rights and liberties. An intrusion or infringements on aspects such as privacy should be justified and aimed at improving the protection of the citizens. Further, any intervention should be justified by showing its efficiency. The new systems that are put in place should be acceptable as the war on terrorism is long-term. The existing legal restrictions should be adhered to ensure that the civil liberties and rights for all individuals are maintained. Additionally, the current operating system should be adhered followed when coming up with measures that are aimed at promoting security. Changes introduced in the system should conform to the civil rights and civil liberties. The changes made in the system should not go against civil rights and freedoms.

Civil rights and civil liberties have been put in place to ensure the safety and freedom of all American citizens. Consequently, different safeguards are in place to ensure their protection. Multiple agencies have been set up in states over the years to promote the rights and liberties of the minorities. These agencies ensure that the fundamental rights of the minorities and all citizens are adhered to. The agencies are non-profit and work on different causes ranging from the rights of the ethnic minorities to freedom of speech. American Association of People with Disabilities that is abbreviated as AAPD is an organization that was established in 1995 with the aim of advocating for the rights and liberties of the disabled. It supports the legislation that has been put in place such as the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the 1990 Americans with Disability Act. The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is a widely known agency that was established in 1909 to advocate for the rights of African Americans and racial and ethnic minorities. These agencies have continued to play a significant role in the protection of the rights and liberties of minorities and addressing discrimination.

Activism has been instrumental in ensuring that civil rights and liberties are observed at all times. It can be seen that the democratic system sometimes gives the majority the upper hand in issues such as voting. Activists have been involved in advocating for the plight of the minority based on race, religion, sexual orientation and other measures. Activism has been at the center stage of maintaining civil rights and liberties. It can be seen that some of the most influential initiatives such as the civil rights movements shaped the civil liberties that are applied in the US to date. Activists are urged to continue playing a significant role in maintaining civil rights and liberties.

The Constitution and existing laws are the safeguards that promote adherence to civil rights and liberties. The Constitution guides the actions taken by the government, individuals, and organizations concerning civil rights and liberties. Different state and local laws have also been put in place to promote civil liberties. The government, citizens, advocacy groups and law and justice agencies should encourage the application of the civil rights and civil liberties.

The Homeland Security Enterprise’s Capability to meet Emergent Future challenges while Balancing Civil Liberties

Homeland security is urged to improve its efforts to meet future challenges while balancing civil liberties. This is due to the rapidly developing nature of the threats facing the country specifically in sharing information. The current environment is characterized by budget cuts ties and the need to be more vigilant while balancing civil liberties. In the present times, the Department of Homeland Security applies risk-based security models that are dependent on the information which means that accurate and timely information will only be accessed in the future. While new systems and organizations have been established, the current structures alter their organizations, and this means that they are not well equipped to deal with future challenges while harmonizing civil liberties. There exist significant terrorist threats, and the members of the public should understand the essence of intelligence. Owing to this, the homeland security should continue playing an advanced role in facilitating the sharing of information and intelligence to effectively deal with the security threats that will be experienced in the future.

While the homeland security department was set up to decimate al Qaeda, it should acknowledge that the US faces security threats from its supporters and adherents. The US has continued to face external security threats that are more sophisticated and are launched using the latest technology. As it stands, the US faces internal terrorist threats that have made it increasingly difficult for the department to balance civil liberties. Homeland security should be more rigorous in conducting searches and dealing with laws on weapon possession. These are expected to cause a significant challenge in balancing civil liberties in the years to come.

Homeland security needs to redefine its role more effectively to deal with future security threats while balancing civil liberties. It should start this by establishing the components of homeland security. Various entities exist in the local, state and federal governments and the private sector making the definition of homeland security significant. These bodies are involved in the collection and evaluation of intelligence, and homeland security should be the central collection point to curb with the security threats that will arise in the future while creating a balance with civil liberties. Homeland security needs to decisively establish itself as a  body that is involved in collecting and managing information between the private sector and different levels of government.

The threats facing homeland security have evolved beyond terrorism which necessitates information sharing. It should utilize lessons, technologies, and models in counter-terrorism to start establishing information sharing abilities that are focused on addressing different threats including cyber attacks and illegal activities along the border. It should channel its resources towards addressing threats along the border. A similar framework should be applied while addressing cybersecurity. As previously mentioned, homeland security should build on its capacity in addressing terrorism to deal with the challenges that will arise in the future.

The department has been successful in curbing terrorism over the years and will encounter new dynamics and dangers in the future. It should start the process now by concentrating its efforts on information sharing capabilities, credentialing and screening and improving information sharing. Homeland security will need to adapt and evolving fast as the nature of threats will change in the light of growing concerns to adhere to civil liberties.