Is it time for America to add to our most sacred document, the Constitution? The Bill of Rights was added a few years after the Declaration of Independence in the year 1791. The last amendment to the Constitution was done in 1992, which interestingly enough took 202 years to be ratified. All the changes and additions were done well before the consumer digital age that we are now living in. Thus I must ask, is it time for a "Digital Bill of Rights"?
The Constitution is vague enough to where we can use it to interpret the laws even in today's complex world. For most things, I am OK with that, but my problem with tech is that much of this is new ground. We are essentially allowing the courts, whether it be a single judge or a panel of judges decide what our rights are. That is not how our country should operate which is why there were a Bill of Rights created in the first place.
Courts have ruled that suspects can be required to unlock cell phones even with biometric security as recent as this past November. Also if a cell phone is unlocked, it can also be searched by police, no warrant is needed. We have a law under the current Bill of Rights that protect us against unlawful searches and our right to privacy. As you can see, the roughly 215 year document is failing us in the court of law to protect our most private devices. Cell phones these days have everything, banking information, email, texts, contacts, and much more all in the hands of your local law enforcement.
Then there is the issue of Internet traffic in general. The very first right in my new proposed "Digital Bill of Rights" should be that "All traffic is created equal". Why? Well because all traffic is created equal, traffic is traffic and there should be no backroom deals or preferential treatment of traffic. If I pay my ISP $xx a month for Internet service, then it should not matter where I go, I should have fast, unfettered Internet.
There are probably about eight more rights that we could discuss on my proposed "Digital Bill of Rights", but I will leave the door open for your thoughts and opinions. As long as privacy and traffic are covered, I think that is a great start and a must be for any scenario. We just cannot keep allowing our rights to get determined by judges. It needs to be determined and ratified by the people. I wish we had a politician that would stand up for the people and start such a bill.
David Strausser is a graduate of Penn State. He holds a degree in Information Sciences and Technology and is currently seeking another degree in Business.