national security, freedom of speech and privacy

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (7:38 PM)

Estefanía Garza A01139092

After the statements by Edward Snowden about espionage and surveillance operatives of the National Security Agency United States (NSA ) , the exposure of secret CIA information shown by Julian Assange and Daniel Ellsberg’s leaked information of the Pentagon in WikiLeaks a great debate was generated that splits into different positions, both for and against the “whistleblowers”. The problems or questions I personally see from this are: how far can we exercise our freedom rights as a citizen and deliberate information the government does not show in a transparent manner? Is it right to question and ask for an accountability system that ensures your interests and your security when it is not given? Also, I consider important to analyze the concepts below as complementary factors and not entirely exclusive. The concepts are the national security and freedom of expression and privacy over the Internet. First of all, I should mention that with this post I ‘m not justifying or present a position in favor of spying and surveillance activities that the United States uses in order to protect the interests of the nation and citizens. However, it is important to question and analyze the difference between what is politically correct for a government and what is morally wrong for a citizen. To discern between the two is difficult when the two positions are not simultaneously occupy.

The interview that The Guardian made where Edward Snowden asked to disclose his identity regarding the NSA leaked information, openly declares that he knows he will be persecuted by the U.S. government, but that comes in second when rights is about, because he knows that what the government does is intrusion and manipulation of private information of users in Internet for government own interests, and treats citizens as alleged suspects which is morally wrong. “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions” but “I will be satisfied if the federations of secret law, unequal and compelling executive pardon powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.” But who decides or really judge what a government can and should do to protect the interests and maintain the security of its population? Are they public officials themselves who have the power to decide what is right and what is wrong for most, once we choose representatives (who are and not elected)? It’s easy to disagree with the government and the decision is made in regard to our well-being, but it is not easy raising our voice showing our disagreement, knowing that could have major implications in challenging our discontent with a much larger power than us.

The concept of national security versus privacy and individual freedom is present in both the role of the government and the unhappy citizen. We must criticize about both sides of the paradigm if we try to understand all this. Article Leaky Geopolitics shows WikiLeaks’ case and is mentioned as a page in a medium of information (internet) that surpasses the geopolitical control limits that countries have, since they are not entirely covered the ways in which information is handled, and has an apparent freedom of expression and privacy of people who surf the World Wide Web. However, the U.S. has found a way to use the internet to their advantage by spying and surveillance, and being aware of threats to the nation. But once the internet is used against U.S. interests- the example Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon released documents- , the people who communicate the information are sanctioned and sentenced as delinquents because that info affects the image and credibility of the U.S. government, but above all, information also shows the abuse of power government has and negatively affects citizens for political decisions that benefit them.

Here the paradigm is: How far reaches national security? How far can adversely affect the government to protect the national security of its own citizens, or even how far can citizens come through freedom of expression by the internet to refute the words of the government? What if one of the threats to the population is the government itself, to deprive us of information for political ends and personal interests? I personally would have done the same as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Daniel Ellsberg , if I knew that the State, the one who swears protection and safeguard to the collective interests, is violating my rights as a citizen and as a human to generate strategies that benefit the State ‘s and not the population itself. My problem or what I would question here is what I think is right for me and for others, coincides with what is right for someone else, for another group of people or the government? The subjectivity gap between what is good for the government and what is good for one person is great. Hence comes the disputes and defenses by the State to say that measures are taken to ensure the safety of everyone in your nation, but the right for security of everyone does not agree with the right of freedom of expression and privacy of the citizen as an individual.

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