Freedom of speech, internet privacy and national security

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (4:29 PM)


The recent troubles induced by the publications of secret documents on Wikileaks have generated a new dilemma: Whether liberty is the principal priority or if is the national security.

Recently the webpage Wikileaks have revealed to secret documents of the NSA and the Unites States government about how the administration has been manipulating the European public opinion related to the Afghan war and other confidential information (Greenwald, 2014). This provoked new debates between the citizens and the government.

Analysts and public opinion has gone between if Wikileaks is good or bad for society, o if it is the government. In this sense I, personally, considered the statement of Springer et al (2013) who says that this shouldn’t be the real debate.  The real issue is to define what are the merits of wikileaks and the sovereignty and national security role.

In my opinion, I think that both actors have their pros and cons. First, Wikileaks defends itself by saying that it about freedom of speech. Snowden wants to “reform civilization” (Snowden in Greenwald, 2014), I agree that people needs information in order to make decisions, and that a democratic country should work in freedom and press plurality basis.  But, I also think a country may hide some information in order to maintain the sovereignty and the stability of the State.

But, what is happening in the United States? , this information revealed that the war against Afghanistan, and other governmental, might not be totally justified. And for me there is a special issue on this debate, the problem besides if this webpage affects national security is that national security is not totally justified.

Another great question that has emerged is the limits of the internet, and how can it be regulated if it needs to be regulated.  In this sense, many countries not only U.S. have been having troubles.  Many social strikes have been organized by social networks on internet, people has the possibility to be listened around the world. For me, the internet has been an effective civilian “weapon” against the government decisions, but, ¿why should it be a “weapon”? , may be it could be an interlocutor. This goes in the sense that many riots have ended in violence (in other countries) , this makes me think that some people doesn’t know how to react at some news or some information, that would make it difficult for  both, the society and for the government .

Yes, I think that freedom of speech is important for a democratic state, but also are the obligations. I support this freedom with the condition that people don’t react with violence.  Finally, I think that in the debate between liberty and security, the role of the States is to protect the security of its citizens; in that case security goes first than the liberty. But the problem here is that the “national threat” is, now, not totally justified with the publication of these documents.

Jessika Juárez Rangel

Categories: Uncategorized


Deirdre said...

I think you raise a lot of new and interesting points about this debate in your post. Public opinion has been wavering on the topic of wikileaks and whether or not it has a positive effect on the United States as a whole. I myself don’t have a solid opinion on this yet, but i definitely agree with some of the things you said.
It’s important that you mentioned the merits of wikileaks and how this is something we should be focusing on. I would say that I trust the website, despite the personal character of those who produced it, and that after exploring the website it seems to contain really useful information that obviously reveals a lot about the United States government. Searching through the archives you can open up pages based on specific issues and the page will tell you its relevance right now, its urgency, why it was leaked, where it came from, and who originally had access to it. Wikileaks is clearly an expression of the freedom of speech, but in my opinion it is an example in which this has gone too far.
I think people have abused their rights, and that this is perhaps what governments in North Korea and China deeply fear their people doing (invading the privacy of the government). We have so much freedom already in speech and press in the United States that I think this is a clear violation by the people. Do you agree? Sometimes I find myself taking the opposite view, though, believing that as a US citizen I don’t want the government hiding anything from me.

// 02/21/2014 at 4:57 pm

Mia said...

I agree that the argument should not focus on whether it is WikiLeaks or the government that is the good guy or the bad guy in this situation; it should focus on the merits of the information that WikiLeaks leaks. I feel like with the ease of sharing information on the internet, classified information finds a way onto this public forum in one way or another, it just so happens that WikiLeaks garnered a lot of attention for it. And since the sharing of information seems almost inevitable on the internet, we shouldn’t speculate whether it should or should not have been shared, but rather evaluate the merit of the information and give it attention based on that.

However, I think a big question that the national security versus personal liberty argument raises is who the government is governing for. This differs for every country, but for the US, a nation based in democracy and personal freedoms for its citizens, it seems as if the government should be acting on behalf of its citizens. It seems as if it is too involved in maintaining national security on a global scale to remember the values it was based on. But at the same time, how can a nation protect and provide for its citizens if its national security is threatened? It’s a delicate balance between the two, and I’m still conflicted on the answer.

// 02/25/2014 at 1:56 pm