The main problem is the false choice posed by the question itself: the choice between "civil liberties" and "fighting terrorism". The debate on whether the fight against terrorism is actually aided by the abrogation of civil rights has yet to happen. But this I do not mean the moral argument often made by critics of security measures, who argue that the suspension of freedom is essentially tantamount to letting the terrorists "win". I agree with that argument and consider it extremely significant, but I also think it is also worth exploring the practical utility of the security measures themselves. Officials within security agencies, for instance, have often argued that blanket surveillance, random inspections and racial profiling are simply not effective ways to catch terrorists. The data generated from blanket surveillance is simply too large to be processed efficiently, while random inspections and racial profiling are for the most part inaccurate and unsuccessful, serving only to marginalise certain identities as potentially criminal. Targeted contextual intelligence is far more useful in that regard, though there are problems with that too. The question then arises, why do governments continue to suspend civil rights in the name of "fighting terrorism". Is terrorism really the only enemy we're facing? It seems to me that the suspension of rights serves another political project, namely, to suppress legitimate dissent against governments, and "terrorism" becomes a convenient catch-all phrase by which to justify measures that no critical public would otherwise tolerate. Often, that dissent includes voices of resistance against the very foreign policies of governments that create profound disaffection abroad, such as economic sanctions and military intervention, which in incite acts of terrorism. A proper debate on terrorism must therefore begin with a reflexive examination of the terms of the debate itself: what does fighting terrorism mean, what are civil rights, and why must we be forced to choose between the two?
Civil liberties are personal guarantees and freedoms that the government cannot abridge, either by law or by judicial interpretation without due process. Though the scope of the term differs amongst various countries, some examples of civil liberties include the freedom from torture, freedom from forced disappearance, freedom of conscience, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the right to security and liberty, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, the right to equal treatment under the law and due process, the right to a fair trial, and the right to life. Other civil liberties include the right to own property, the right to defend oneself, and the right to bodily integrity. Within the distinctions between civil liberties and other types of liberty, distinctions exist between positive liberty/positive rights and negative liberty/negative rights. More: en.wikipedia.org.
We in the U.S. have already done so by allowing the U.S.A. Patriot Act to be passed and renewed on multiple occasions. Good luck to us getting all those civil liberties back. Trading liberties for safety's sake is essentially trading liberties for a certain kind of tyranny. What good is the 4th amendment if the FBI can conduct a search without a warrant simply saying they are doing it in the name of national security and to thwart a potential terrorist threat?
Some time ago debates raged in Europe regarding the introduction and use of identity cards.
Today, the vast majority of us have a mobile phone that not only tracks us but also sends almost unlimited information about our lives and I do hear voices protesting?
The Orwellian future is to have transplants in our heads. It would be argued,
"If you don't have bad thoughts why would you object?"
Freedoms are lost in the cracks where we are not looking.
Once again our politicians have waved a false flag (in this case terrorism) for the sole purpose of enslaving us. Our whole system is broken beyond repair. We need to invoke Article V and call for a Constitutional Convention. Then we could euthanize and bury this diseased organism with all of it's agencies. Article V would allow us to build anew from the ground up. We need to do this. It would stop a civil war from ensuing.