National Security Vs Individual Privacy

703 Words3 Pages
Common saying goes, “Everything comes with a price. You can never gain something if you don’t sacrifice something of equal value.” While this might not apply to all situations, it certainly describes the debate of National Security vs. Individual Privacy. To increase and establish safety and security for the citizens, erosion of individual privacy must occur; the real problem is how far the government should go to ensure that terrorist threats are minimized. To address this growing debate, President Obama said, “It’s important to understand that you can’t have 100 percent security and then have 100 percent privacy... we’re going to have to make some choices as a society”. We have to realize that our society is far from being an utopian…show more content…
This is not aimed to devalue the importance of privacy; in fact, it is privacy that promotes individuality and autonomy. Privacy is crucial for helping to develop a personality that is not influenced by the government, the values, or the judgment of others. In short, this helps you self-develop. Also, contrary to the public's belief, increasing surveillance doesn’t just impact an individual's privacy; in fact, it impacts much more than that. With an increased amount of surveillance, a range of rights that we obtain from the U.S Constitution and the Bill of Rights are affected, some of which include freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of association and assembly. With increased surveillance, most people learn to choose words carefully before talking in public, as well as in private, reducing freedom of speech. With your actions being monitored, who you associate yourself with becomes important as well. By choosing to be around with suspected terrorists, the chance of being put into the suspected terrorist activity list would increase. This effectively shuts down freedom of association and assembly. As you can see, reducing privacy comes with many disadvantages. However, this should not precede over the security of the whole nation. John Stuart Mill stated in his book On Liberty that people should be free to do whatever they wanted, provided they do no harm to others. I believe that this…show more content…
Especially in the urban areas, crime rates have dropped by around 20 percent after increased surveillances, and has stayed low since then. Also, by examining a study they did in Chicago, we can see that by spending roughly $190,000 on surveillance, they had saved $815,000 on criminal justice. This shows that surveillance are a very important law enforcing tool as well. In conclusion, I believe that some amount of individual privacy must be sacrificed in order to increase safety. Even though the erosion of individual privacy goes against our most fundamental and hard won freedoms, security is very important. Without it, the underlying threat of another event similar to 9/11 would be devastating. To ensure that this does not happen again, there should be increased security at the cost of individual
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