Privacy Comes at a Price


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My quiz results as an ambivalent networker comes as no surprise to me. I love technology and all of the benefits it gives to me, but at the same time kind of hope that my privacy was a little more available. With camera phones, social media, and instant access to recent news all in one’s hand, it is hard to escape everyone’s business without turning off all electronics. However, this perceived lack of privacy also aids in more serious efforts such as stopping crime and catching criminals.

The NSA leaked reports from a few months ago show that our technological conversations can be easily seen or heard by government officials at the click of a button. While people cry out for individual and privacy rights, I tend to learn towards the other end of the spectrum. Don’t we want our government to be able to predict and foil attacks on our country before they actually happen? I would imagine texts with a girlfriend or calls with one’s mother are of much interest to National Security. Key terms and watch list individuals are located and followed in order to catch them before terrible actions occur. As can be read in this article about the sabotaged attack on the Federal Reserve in New York City, FBI surveillance aided in stopping the planned bombing. Instances as such cannot be ignored as successes and the people who wish for “more privacy” should remember that their privacy comes at a cost to National Security.

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3 comments on “Privacy Comes at a Price

  1. I agree- it is scary to think how much information there is out there about everyone. In response to what you wrote: “I would imagine texts with a girlfriend or calls with one’s mother are of much interest to National Security”–I think this is an ethical question. Is our privacy being invaded for the right reasons? Considering how many people are in the world I would think it is…

  2. Do you see anonymous, wikileaks, Snowden and others who break laws to expose secrets or to “hack” systems as heros? Criminals? Misguided activists?

  3. When you see a story like that, it can feel hard to argue that the government has gone too far in spying on us. However, I think we can think of opportunity costs. Could he have been caught as reliably without the whole web of intrusive practices and technologies? THis success comes with costs. The US and other governments have entrapped people in their aggressive attempt to prevent terrorism. Can we measure the sense of invaded privacy of millions of people? THe NSA and US government had to admit they have been tapping foreign leaders. What if that leads to less cooperation that could help catch terrorists?

    In some ways, criminal justice systems are about catching crimes after they occur. Once you are into prevention then you may dance with lines of guilt and innocence.

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