Security vs. Privacy Discussion

 

“If I’m not doing anything wrong, why should I care if the government gathers information on my phone calls and internet activity? The reason they are gathering information is to help stop terrorist attacks. Stopping terrorists is the most important thing! They don’t care about me, and the programs the government uses to gather information are an important way, maybe even the best way, to keep Americans safe.”

Is that your attitude?

Or, on the other hand, do you think the government should be prohibited from gathering private information (even just metadata, which records the who, when and where of calls, but not the actual content of communications) about phone calls and internet use of American citizens unless there’s a court order authorizing a specific investigation?

In the often-quoted words of Benjamin Franklin:

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

(Though according to the Lawfare Blog, Franklin was not actually saying what it is believed he was.)

The debate about the balance between personal privacy and national security has been going on for a long time – in particular since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

How do you see it? How would you strike that balance? Have we given up too much privacy/liberty to buy our safety? Or have we been safe because we have struck the correct balance?

 

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