At the start of 2013, news hit the media houses that the US government was secretly collecting internet data and phone logs from millions of Americans. This secret was revealed when a government agent, Edward J. Snowden disclosed that, in an effort to make the country safer, the US government was collecting citizen’s information without their knowledge (Frontline, 2014). He said that the National Security Agency (NSA) was collaborating with leading technology companies such as Google and Facebook to execute their surveillance efforts and secretly collect peoples’ information.
In my opinion, the need for more security should not be a reason for the government to interfere with peoples’ right to privacy and freedom. The constitution of the United States guarantees the privacy and freed of every citizen. Privacy is important for two major reasons. First is that it helps the citizens in maintaining their individuality and autonomy. The other reason is that it helps people to safeguard their privacy and reputation. If people have to lose their privacy, they might as well lose their respect, anonymity, and trust and this is wrong as per the constitution. With this idea in mind, peoples’ privacy should not be substituted from improved security.
Since both security and privacy are important needs in the lives of the citizens, a balance is needed between the two. The government has to develop a plan to achieve security without interfering with peoples’ rights to privacy. This will not be a simple task, especially considering that the best way to promote security is to improve surveillance. Achieving the balance is however possible as long as the government is willing to let go some surveillance to safeguard people’s privacy rights. If a surveillance mission will seriously breach peoples’ privacy rights the mission should be abolished.
- Frontline. (2014). United States of Secret. Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/united-states-of-secrets/