National Security vs. Internet Privacy

// Posted by on 02/20/2014 (8:05 PM)

Raúl Ochoa


In my opinion, the internet is double-edged sword, both security and privacy are affected. The citizens will always want to be safe; it’s something the State has always been protecting, its national security. Now, that we face this new domain, the internet; as everybody has access to it, so do people who might be a threat for one State. If one State has the chance to have control over all this information, it will not let that opportunity go away without taking advantage. We have seen the same situation in different times through history; during the colonialism, the great powers wanted to have control over territories, with the imperialism happened the same but with economics, and now with the internet it is not unexpected the States want to control it to ensure their security. Saying this, I’m not implying it is a justified action, but it is hard to make the governments not to do it. I believe that if the States want to control the internet, it could be understandable, but as I already said, not justifiable. If the State won’t set free some secret information, I think it should respect the privacy of the citizens.

The fact that Wikileaks has been targeted by US as a threat (Greenwald, 2010) doesn’t mean Wikileaks by itself can act against one State to damage it, but it allows other threats to take advantage of this information. On the other hand, what Snowden made could be also catalogued by US as a threat, but it could actually be linked to the principal with which American society was settled, trying always to do the right things. As Snowden mentioned in his interview (The Guardian, 2013), he took that decision of disclosing all that information because he didn’t want to live in a world where privacy is threatened by the government, which is going against democracy principals.

The difference is that in this case he showed that the NSA spied on their own citizens and political leaders. States that haven’t been affected by secretive files will not support these actions, instead they will continue recruiting and hiding information to ensure their security; no matter if they have to spy on their own citizens, the bi-directional dataveillance (Springer, 2012) will keep going as long as the State get benefits from not disclosing that information.  Now that Snowden has asylum in Russia, it represents a threat for US, because they (Russia) could get infiltrated in the NSA data through Snowden giving this country advantage in information arena. The fact that Russia will not give asylum again if Snowden gets out of Russia’s territory is being seen as an action that keeps him captive from liberty (The Guardian, 2014).

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Deirdre said...

A lot has been brought up about how the internet should be regulated. You make a good point about wikileaks and who can access it. This is a huge issue because, like you said, the internet is a free domain to which almost everyone in the world has access. Do you think that it is right for people like Snowden and Assange to post classified government information to a place that can be accessed by not just citizens of the United States, but everyone in the world? I understand that there is a need for more government transparency, but putting information on the internet for the world to see could be dangerous in a lot of ways.
I liked what you said about the original principles of the country, and how Snowden was trying to do the right thing by leaking information. I agree with you; democratic principles are threatened by this idea of invasion of privacy by the government. But isn’t it necessary in some cases?
I didn’t know that Snowden was was in Russia right now so that’s a really interesting thing that you brought up. This does represent a threat to the United States, but do you really think that Snowden has abandoned his loyalty to the United States? He left the NSA and certainly betrayed them and continues to bash them, but I’m not sure if I think that he is threat to us being in another country.

// 02/21/2014 at 5:20 pm