Security or privacy?

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (9:34 PM)

After the terrorist attack in 9/11  the word security and privacy have taken another meaning. It is understandable that the U.S. government has taken measures necessary to prevent terrorist acts and to keep his country safe. One of these measures has been the use of espionage, although from time before the U.S. government has used these measures to make foreign policy decisions, this time have focused not only on terrorists but also on their own citizens violating  their privacy.

However contrary to the public opinion, according to a CBS News survey only 36 percent of the country felt that government spying had ” gone too far ” . Similarly, a Pew survey – Washington Post found that 62 percent (including 69 percent of Democrats ) deemed fighting terrorism a higher priority than protecting privacy.

Understandably the citizens prefer their security and not take so much importance to their  privacy by not having anything to hide and with the fact that today with the internet, the television and the social networks are expanded increasingly more tools  to know personal information about everyone. However it is important to clarify the true use the government does with the information obtained through espionage due that some of the disclosures provided by Snowden for The Guardian show that there have been times when the goverment blame any citizen to be a potential suspect modifying the personal information and showing false information about that citizen.

On the question of whether restrictions should exist on the Internet  I consider that not necessarily, because the Internet is currently used for communication and dissemination of information , among many other things . But  being such a large network is a tool of certain actors to achieve theirs objectives and  this ones not necessarily are ethical or good, so the Internet becomes a double-edged sword. But USA  is a democratic country, which has always characterized by “defend” freedom in every way, so I don’t consider that putting restrictions on the Internet matches very well with that speech of freedom.

As mentioned above, the United States is a democratic regime where must exist a real relationship of trust between the government and its citizens, and for that reason is so the citizens voted for they. It’s necessary that the government inform the society about their decisions  and do that with  transparency in the published information. If the government makes decisions in the place of the society in the  long-term the trust will lost and social problems arise.

It’s understandable that States must ensure their national security, but violating the privacy of individuals and institutions is not the most ethical way to do it. I think that people like Snowden are citizens committed to their society. In the particular case of Snowden he had the access to confidential information and saw that this information was not necessarily the same as the United States government made known, so he decided to inform the public the truth of what is happening, giving them the option to start doing something about it or just let it go. Such leaks are a new way to encourage citizens to participate and become more involved in issues of public agenda to achieve the common good.


Karen Núñez


Categories: Uncategorized


Cora said...

Karen, while I agree that it is crucial to maintain a positive relationship between a government and its people, I do believe that there have to be boundaries. Just because the United States is a democracy does not mean that the people have the right to know all the secrets and practices of the government, especially those within national security. You state that citizens should know how and what information the government has access to and uses and, more specifically, what they use it for. The majority of American people choose to identify with and support the US government. Within that trust, they must accept the choices that the they make. As you shared in your statistics, the majority of Americans (62%) believed “deemed fighting terrorism a higher priority than protecting privacy” while only 30% of the country felt that government spying had gone too far. The internet is, indeed, a double-edged sword as it has many pros and cons. As you said, however, the internet is one of the main tools used globally. It has created a world in which information is free and unlimited. How can we regulate such a powerful thing? Information is so accessible today that it is fair to ask if privacy even truly exists anymore?

// 02/25/2014 at 12:01 am