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Privacy Versus Security

By: Nathaniel Reidhead

By Nathaniel ReidheadPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

Although it is the right of the government to “suppress insurrection,” it is also the right of the people to alter and abolish government as stated in the Declaration of Independence.

Privacy & Security: Legally Speaking

Advocating on both fronts, protesting for privacy or fighting for security, the debate is naturally a coherently-observed inquisition that considers both the moral and legal stipulations in which both are extremely indispensable and consequential elements necessary for a strong nation. Logically speaking, the natural contradiction for advocating against privacy would be a question of security and safety; legally speaking, in regards to national defense, the answer lies in the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section Eight: “The Congress shall…provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States…” More specifically, however, to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States the government reserves the right to: define and punish piracies and felonies committed on U.S. sea territory; protect international law; declare war; grant letters of marque and reprisals; establish rules regarding capture on land and water; raise and support armies without the use of appropriation of money for a term longer than two years; provide and maintain a Navy; establish regulation for the government on the use of land naval forces; award State power over the militia as a check on the national government; suppress insurrections and repel invasions; provide for the organization, arming, and discipline of militia; and granting the states the right to appoint officers as well as training the militia in the discipline prescribed by the Congress. Regarding the general welfare and common defense of the nation, the executive branch is appointed as the Commander in Chief of the Army, Navy, and the collective state Militia. He or she, of course, may grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States—except in cases of impeachment—and establish treaties. In the sense of security, the national duties for the United States government are broad and lean more towards international common defense that has more to do with extroverted protection against any foreign threats; imagine a plot of land surrounded by large barb-wired fences. It would only make sense if the guns were pointed outward rather than inward, would it not?

Privacy & Security: Morally Speaking

Moral nihilism teaches us that morality is subjective and can only be defined by those in primal authority. At a national level, we assume that the primal authority, in this case, is the national government. However, the general welfare of the people, the question of privacy and security, is a national one and not a foreign one. International threats are within the jurisdiction of the national government and national threats within the United States are the collective and individual state governments' responsibility. Our main question is whether privacy ought to be valued equal to or more than security; first off, we must first decide how our society decides right and wrong, which in fact is defined as “anything that supports both the happiness of the mass majority and provides for greatest good for the greatest number of people.”

It is hard to distinguish if we must value privacy more than or equal to security because of how our society decides what is right or wrong, thereby making the question contradictory. To clarify, security has a basis for valuing safety more than anything else, whereas privacy best serves the majority in that it gives our society a sense of freedom rather than a sense of totalitarianism, and therefore best serves our happiness. How do we appropriately decide which has more value? The answer is a simple and, admittedly, a rudimentary one. Not only should privacy or security uphold the stipulations of happiness and utilitarianism, but they must also best serve liberty and preserve a beneficial quality of life. To clarify, liberty is commonly defined as “the right of a person to be free from abusive constraints of his or her political state; the free development of individuality on a personal and/or communal level.” And “quality of life” is defined as “the conditions which contribute to making life more than a struggle for survival; elevating life beyond a needs-only existence.”

Whereas privacy both serves liberty and is beneficial for a benevolent quality of life, security—which is invasive to one’s privacy, although not an abusive constraint on an individual’s political state—is a burden on the free development of individuality on both a personal and communal level. Not only is privacy invading security a constraint on one’s liberty, but it provides a malevolent quality of life that is representative of a totalitarian government. Furthermore, our own government is a representative democracy, and, as such, we are committed to upholding individualism, liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Privacy & Security: Conclusion

For just a minute, imagine that Sundar Pichai, the chief executive officer of “Google,” decided for some odd reason he was going to implement a new rule that invaded the privacy of every Google user. For instance, every search, browser history, download history, etc. could be viewed and shared publicly by Google. However, this doesn’t apply to Sundar. The example is a well-represented model of a totalitarian government as well as a hypocritical one. Not only is invading privacy unethical, we can see that it is not in the nation's right to do so. Although it is the right of the government to “suppress insurrection,” it is also in the right of the people to alter and abolish government as stated in the Declaration of Independence. We should conclude that privacy and security should be valued equally and by these means, uphold them within moderation that is apposite in serving the nation’s safety and happiness.


About the Creator

Nathaniel Reidhead

Hey everyone, call me Nathan. I am a student at MSSU and I am a psychology major. I love to write stories and poetry and even essays.

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