Privacy vs. Protection

In recent developments, Edward Snowden is perceived to have decided to call Venezuela his new home. According to CBS News, Venezuela seems to be the best choice because they are the most well equip nation to get Snowden there safely and keep him protected from extradition. Venezuela Foreign Minister, Elias Jaua, states, “Even if we wanted to, and we don’t, we wouldn’t extradite him, nor should we because it is not legal nor ethical.” Although a destination has finally been decided upon, the mission to get Snowden to safety is far away from complete. Currently, Snowden’s route on his “flight of liberty” has yet to be decided, and according to New York Magazine, the journey could become very costly. “A former CIA analyst suggested a private jet, which could run up to $200,000, but might be able to make it to Caracas from Russia where, as far as we know, Snowden remains at Sheremetyevo Airport — without refueling. ” Edward Snowden’s travel arrangements could take weeks to finalize.

The story of Edward Snowden brings many different points of debate to the forefront of the national conversation. The one that currently interests me the most is privacy vs. protection. When discussing a nation that was founded on certain established freedoms, is it more important to hold a citizen’s right to privacy in the highest regard? Or is the government’s obligation to protect its citizens from harm its highest responsibility?

There are strong arguments that could be made for both sides of this debate. Those who value their privacy very close to them have every right to do so. Whether there is a justifiable reason to do so or not, they have every right to stand up and say “I don’t want my government meddling in my private matters.” However, in this digital age, it is very difficult to keep even the most mundane activities private. With social media and internet usage at an all time high, media companies such as Facebook and Google are constantly selling your “private” information to third parties in order to create personalized advertising campaigns (always read your terms of use). And because new technology is developed every day to create shortcuts, most information is stored somewhere on the World Wide Web. Even medical records have become digitized and are living in an internet based cloud – without your permission. So although you may hold your private life in high regarding, there is unfortunately no such thing as 100% privacy in the digital age.

For those of you who find comfort in the large and soft security blanket that the USA has cast upon you, then I’m sure you can remain comfortable knowing that the NSA will not stop keeping track who you communicate with, when, where, and what about. But beware that in this post 9/11 world, “big brother” will always be watching. What I find troubling in this argument is that despite the claim that we are being watched for our own protection we are not fully protected. Terrible tragedies that have recently occurred in our country such as the Boston Marathon Bombings have taken place during this period and there was no way to prevent them. None of the communication took place online or over the phone, as far as we know. Even though our government wants to keep us safe, there is no way to fully accomplish that.

I hate to remain undecided in this heated argument, but I have already accepted that there is no way I will be able to keep my life completely private and protected. Every time I walk out of my apartment, I risk my well being in order to live my life. But it is a chance I am willing to take. Edward Snowden wanted to inform the citizens of this country that their daily activities are being monitored by the NSA, but I had assumed long ago that these activities would be monitored, especially if there was something to hide. From national terrorist suspicions to small-town local injustices, law enforcing departments constantly monitor activities such as phone calls and internet use in order to solve crimes. Why should this be any different? While I would rather my government not monitor my activities such as read personal texts from friends and family and look at pictures from the party I attended last weekend, I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of.

I can appreciate the urgent manner in which Edward Snowden attempted to warn us about our privacy being infringed upon, but the bottom line is that the government spy game has taken place for a number of years at this point. As long as you have nothing to hide, there is no use to fight it because the NSA will continue this for the foreseeable future.

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4 thoughts on “Privacy vs. Protection

  1. “I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of.”

    But this argument cuts both ways. If the government has nothing to hide or be ashamed of, then why do they want to keep American citizens from learning about their spying programs?

    • Hi Brian,
      I’m glad to see that you have taken an active interest in my blog. I definitely do agree with your argument, I can only assume that they didn’t want Americans to find out about said spying programs because of the chaos and outrage it would. I don’t want to accept it as the new normal (and your probably don’t either), but I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the NSA spy games are concerned. Keep following “TV In Action”, I try to post 2-3 times a week!

  2. I agree that in this day and age, privacy is hard to come by especially with Facebook and social media. I guess my argument with that is that people willingly put their picture on these sites and inform people about their day to activities. The people the NSA watch did not give their permission to being monitored. Also, not knowing all of the details of this case, does the NSA have to obtain a warrant to monitor people or do they have carte blanche? In your post you mentioned that law enforcement is able to get phone taps and monitor people but they have to go to court and obtain a warrant in order to spy on people. I am like you and have not come down on one side or the other yet (though I find myself leaning a little towards Snowden) but hopefully as the story unfolds, I will be able to get all of the information and formulate an informed opinion.

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