This site provides links to Internet sites which are related to civil liberties in general, the USA Patriot Act, Homeland Security, and civil liberties after 9/11. The site offers a critical perspective on issues and controversies that focus on the efforts by the United States government to respond to is today commonly referred to as Homeland Security. The site includes "Reflection Questions" that encourage visitors to think about issues and come to their own conclusions regarding the restructuring of governmental agencies, the altering of civil rights and civil liberties, and an increased level of surveillance of American citizens and others around the world. The user should be aware, however that the perspective of the linked sources is somewhat biased against the Patriot Act and other U.S. government actions in regarding civil liberties.
Type of Material:
To stimulate class and online discussions
To provides access to information on a range of issues related to Homeland Security, The Patriot Act, and Civil Liberties.
To empower visitors to the web site who are interested in Homeland Security, The Patriot Act, and Civil Liberties to be informed of issues affecting Americans and to encourage critical thinking of the issues presented.
Target Student Population:
College General Education
Lower and upper level college majoring in the social sciences
Lower and upper level college students majoring in political science
Students studying law
The site is broken into five categories: Introduction, Civil Liberties, Homeland Security, Why This Why Now, and Challenges to The Patriot Act with a wealth of links that support the page topic
Each section of the site contains links to other web sites that support the general subject of the page and take the viewer to additional material to support the information gathering of the viewer
Each section of the site contains reflection questions that can be used to enhance ones understanding of the topic or can be incorporated into course assignments
The links that are included takes the viewer to a variety of web sites that provide information from a variety of perspectives and includes information ranging from personal opinion to research-based material
Sources are overwhelmingly anti-government, perhaps deservedly so, never the less, it would be useful to at least link the user to sources in support of the policies and actions under discussion, so that the user could easily compare arguments from alternative viewpoints. A random check of 37 links resulted in 16 of the links not being accessible or no longer available at the URL. There is no indication that the site is being maintained and updated.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The topics as presented are in a logical order and allow for progressive information gathering on topics that are related
The breath of material that is available through this site makes it ideal for teachers/instructors to develop assignments that support lessons which focus on the social sciences, political science, history, and law
The user can quickly obtain an understanding of the far reaching consequences of the cumulative effects of some seemingly unimportant policy changes and government actions.
The site is a collection of web sites, many which contain links that are no longer active and provide a central location of material that already exists on other web sites
The concepts presented on the site are arranged in an order to challenge the thinking of the viewer in a manner which may represent the view of the site developer
By not including more pro government sources, the user may not appreciate the strength of convictions held by those who support the Patriot Act and similar acts, which alter civil liberties.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is easy to navigate and explore
Overall, the visual appearance of the site is pleasant and it includes copies of posters developed by The Propaganda Remix Project
There is a lack of interactivity due to the site being primarily a collection of web links
There are no instructions or guides provided to assist the viewer in locating specific information of interest
Some pages include large numbers of broken links especially pages 3, 4, and 5 where nearly 50% of the links are no longer functional.
Other Issues and Comments:
This site is among this reviewers favorites based on its utility for college level course work.