Whatsoever you write on your website, in social media can be misused by governments and companies.
The recent banning of a friend from entering the Osho Meditation Resort based on the fact that she had joined the event called Save Osho Pune and the Samadhi (at present showing 2000 people participating, 260 ‘maybe’ attendees, and 13,479 ‘invited’) brings to attention the possibility that, at any time, an organisation with high manpower can manipulate your life.
Possibilities are e.g. a fundamental Christian government like that promised by the GOP in case they win the elections. They could interfere with your working life, place where you live, choice of school. You need not even be openly gay or have spoken about your abortion – or be a sannyasin – to be targeted.
Your websites, blog posts and comments in social media are already being monitored. The UK government, in April 2012, proposed a law where internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications on demand, in real time, with the excuse that the move is key to tackling crime and terrorism.
It is a gulp of fresh air to read through the first amendment, if it was implemented:
Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
According to The Legal Information Institute of the Cornell Univerity Law School this is what is to be understood by this amendment:
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights. The First Amendment has been interpreted by the Court as applying to the entire federal government even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress. Furthermore, the Court has interpreted, the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments.
The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech where it attempts to regulate the content of the speech. A less stringent test is applied for content-neutral legislation. The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. For more on unprotected and less protected categories of speech see advocacy of illegal action, fighting words, commercial speech and obscenity. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicate a message. The level of protection speech receives also depends on the forum in which it takes place.
Despite popular misunderstanding the right to freedom of the press guaranteed by the first amendment is not very different from the right to freedom of speech. It allows an individual to express themselves through publication and dissemination. It is part of the constitutional protection of freedom of expression. It does not afford members of the media any special rights or privileges not afforded to citizens in general.
The right to assemble allows people to gather for peaceful and lawful purposes. Implicit within this right is the right to association and belief. The Supreme Court has expressly recognized that a right to freedom of association and belief is implicit in the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. […]
Compiled with information by friends – not mentioned by name.
Illustration thanks to Techfleece (Images.com/Corbis)