Essay Example: National Security Outweighs Citizen Privacy

Published: 2022-02-16
Essay Example: National Security Outweighs Citizen Privacy
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  National security
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1010 words
9 min read

There is a delicate balance when it comes to the debate about which position to take with regard to citizen privacy and national security. In a survey commission by the Center for International Governance innovation (Cigi), and conducted by the global research company, IPSOS, across 24 countries, many global citizens prioritized national security favoring law enforcement agencies to access private information is they have a national security reason to do so (Estopace). However, various legal dimensions still have a different perspective on this subject. For instance, In the United States government, the constitution in the fourteenth amendment provides rights to privacy. The internet age has also presented a lot of privacy concerns with the development of smartphones that enable massive data harvesting about individuals. A recent revelation that sparked more debate on to the topic was after intelligence leaker Edward Snowden that revealed that NSA had been gathering bulk data regarding phone records of the Americans (Zaru). In a subsequent interview on the issue, the Senate intelligence committee maintained that NSA was only performing a necessary function to keep Americans safe. This paper takes the perspective of many global citizens, as per the IPSOS survey, supporting that National security outweighs citizen privacy.

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As many people often feel, it is the government's responsibility to provide security to its citizens (Perez). As a result, their massive pressure on the government to deliver on this mandate, therefore, it should be accorded all means possible to deliver. Such means include the purposed "infringement" on the privacy rights of its citizens to provide such protection. The government will be gaining these rights at the expense of privacy for the general good of the entire citizenry at large. Currently, Americans are facing various threats to national security including threats of external terrorist attacks. Such events generate increased anxiety among the citizens. For instance, the 2015 Paris attack had a chilling impact on Americans who, according to A Pew Research Center survey, expressed concerns that their government had not done enough in protecting them from external threats (Rainie and Maniam). Due to the increasing terrorist attacks on the global scale, and the overwhelming pressure on the government to curtail such threats, the issue of national security should remain a top priority.

Stemming from the massive pressure to curtail national security threats, many would agree that an individual's privacy rights would be deprived to ensure such security. Another recent issue which sparked fierce debate was when a federal court ordered Apple to assist the FBI to unlock an iPhone that was supposedly used by a suspect in the San Bernadino, California terrorist attack. Apple, however, challenged the directive to ensure that the security of other iPhones remained protected. In this particular case, the company was definitely thwarting investigation procedure which could have been integral in unlocking the motive behind the terrorist attack (Rainie and Maniam). In such cases, there is a need for further law reviews to ensure that police investigation is carried out with finality. In the same IPSOS survey, sixty-three percent of the internet users interviewed felt that companies should not develop technologies that prevent authorities from accessing user online content. By the company cooperating by the law enforcement authority would have helped establish the attack trail, and probably prevent future attacks that might follow the same path. Moreover, terrorist attacks are serious crimes that lead to massive casualties, and hence they need to be prevented at all costs. In general, law enforcement authorities play a bigger role in ensuring national security and every individual and organization should facilitate such processes.

Finally, advocating for national security over privacy enables a pluralist, all-inclusive society (Perez). There are various minority groups living in Americas such as those with different religious affiliations, LGBT groups, and those of different racial origins. There are groups that would seek to ostracize such individuals or even direct xenophobic attacks at them. For instance, the 2016 Orlando gay nightclub attack was considered the largest mass shooting in American history where the LGBT community was targeted. The attack was believed to be orchestrated by a radical Islamic terror group against the LGBT way of life (Angelo). A similar attack occurred in a Mosque in Minnesota, the same year, with Muslims targeted this time around. The attack, according to the Council on American-Islam Relations (CAIR), was believed to be one of the Anti-Muslim crimes amid the rise in anti-Islam bias incidents in the United State (Aljazeera). Perez argues that such crimes could be prevented through loss of privacy rights allowing security agencies to perform a better survey on most of the individuals targeted. Also, those who teach messages of hate and spread them through social media would be easily apprehended. In such strategies, prioritizing national security needs will ensure an all-inclusive society where everyone lives in harmony.

In conclusion, though many Americans feel that the massive gathering of personal data raises questions, equal concerns are felt with regard to the advantages in terms of better security measures upheld as a result of such information availability. In many cases, privacy is equally important, however, no government will collect data to work against its citizens. For this reason, I feel that national security should come first before considering individual privacy

Works Cited

Aljazeera. "Minnesota mosque bombed during morning prayers." 6 August 2017. Aljazeera. Web. 23 June 2018. <>.

Angelo, Gregory T. "Orlando terror attach: National security is an LGBT issue." 15 June 2016. FoxNews. Web. 23 June 2018. <>.

Estopace, Eden. "National security vs digital privacy: Most citizens would side with gov't." 08 Marck 2016. eGovinnovation. Web. 20 June 2018. <>.

Perez, Talia Klein. "Does National Security outweigh the right to privacy." 2017. the perspective. Web. 20 June 2018.

Rainie, Lee and Shiva Maniam. "Americans feel the tension between privacy and security concerns." 19 February 2016. Pew Research Center. Web. 23 June 2018. <>.

Zaru, Deena. "Dilemmas of the internet age: privacy vs. security." 29 March 2014. CNN politics. Web. 23 June 2018. <>.

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