Individual privacy vs. national security
Striking a balance between national security vs. individual
During a National Constitution Center discussion in San Francisco on June 7, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff discusses whether the government should have more access to smartphones and technology through backdoors.
Drawing a clear line between privacy rights and national security has become a contentious issue at a time when both technology and the threat of terrorism are on the rise. Some proponents of more open access to smartphones and other technologies have cited rising foreign threats as justification for giving law enforcement another tool to track down offenders.
On the other side, privacy proponents have argued that sacrificing privacy for protection just exposes the data of otherwise law-abiding people, which they believe is a high price to pay.
Experts on both sides of the topic debated the finer points of backdoors, encryption, and what is required of technology firms when it comes to working with law enforcement at an Intelligence Squared discussion hosted by the National Constitution Center on June 7.
Edward snowden interview on apple vs. fbi, privacy, the nsa
Recent innovations and business practices draw attention to the next step that must be taken to protect the client and secure what Judge Cooley refers to as the right “to be left alone.” Instant photos and newspaper publishing have infiltrated the sacred sanctums of private and domestic life, and a plethora of mechanical devices threaten to fulfill the prophecy that “what is whispered in the closet shall be proclaimed from the house-top.” (2) If you’re looking for a
As a result in the advancement of digital technologies, each of us now shares vast quantities of personal information with third parties. When we share photos on social media or send our credit card numbers to purchase items online, this is sometimes evident. Often it’s less apparent, such as when phone companies hold track of any call we make. Overall, the amount of data that each of us provides to strangers on a daily basis will astound Brandeis and Warren, let alone Jefferson and Madison.
Resolving tensions between individual privacy and national
Many of our actions leave a data trail. Phone logs, credit card purchases, GPS in cars monitoring our locations, cell phones (with or without GPS), and the list goes on and on. Almost all online activities, such as instant messaging, visiting blogs, and watching videos, leave a trail of data that service providers can receive.
Fortunately, privacy is not dead (yet), but it is in jeopardy. Some organisations, such as the National Security Agency (NSA), have claimed that their aim is to eradicate privacy worldwide. We can be easily monitored, manipulated, and feel a lack of power over ourselves and our personal lives if we do not have privacy.
There are several ways to improve your privacy, such as taking care when sharing personal information online or with others. You may even make small choices including paying with cash rather than a credit card, encrypting your emails and backups, and reading the terms of service before using a product (i.e., would your privacy be respected?).
The trade off: individual privacy and national security
Everyone is online in the twenty-first century. Our personal data has been digitized and is accessible to everyone with the means to access it, but should Americans give up their right to privacy in exchange for increased security? Both rights are important, but they often conflict. As countries around the world consider or implement ways to digitally monitor the whereabouts of those infected with the coronavirus through mobile apps, the issue of preserving privacy is becoming increasingly important.
Privacy was a problem even before the coronavirus outbreak. According to the Director of National Intelligence’s annual report, the NSA (National Security Agency of the United States) collected over 151 million records of Americans’ phone calls in 2016, despite Congress restricting the agency’s right to do so. It’s a large amount, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what the NSA collected prior to 2016 through a system designed to detect alleged terrorists.
In the United States Constitution, the phrase “general welfare” appears twice. Since “securing the general welfare” is written into the Constitution, while “privacy” is only protected by amendments, national security should take precedence over personal privacy issues. In other words, the general good takes precedence over personal interests. Surveillance to deter violence on Americans or on American soil is part of the common good when it comes to defending against terrorism. Improved intelligence and security programs would assist in the prevention of fatalities. In the case of a global health pandemic, the common good might involve mobile contact-tracing applications that will warn people if they’ve come into contact with infected individuals. Such apps can also aid in the abolition of national shutdowns, thereby saving money. Aren’t any of these arguments enough to justify allowing for less privacy?