National Security Vs. The Right To Privacy

3061 words - 12 pages

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller

Security has been a common topic of controversy since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and even before then it was a constant subject. The image of buildings collapsing and billowing smoke has been engraved into the minds of Americans and will remain there for years to come. Security is an issue that we encounter everyday. Whether it is driving down the freeway or walking into the grocery store; we are cautious of what is going on around us. Men and women across this country are dedicated to enforcing laws; laws that are designed to ensure the security of our communities and our nation. In an effort to project a feeling of security, the government has set up a department whose sole purpose is to protect; the department of Homeland Security. We install surveillance cameras in banks, stores, restaurants, and homes. Those that we feel need more protection, such as celebrities and politicians, are constantly surrounded by body guards. One cannot work with children without having a detailed background check and receiving priority clearance. If one is willing to look hard enough or spend enough money, they can retrieve information on any specific person, and barely break a sweat.

Security is not something that can be compromised; however, it does not have to come at the expense of our privacy. It is possible to maintain our own identities, while guaranteeing the security of our nation. As Bruce Schneier argues in his commentary, Protecting privacy and liberty, security and privacy are not two sides of an equation. (773)

In an article for an Internet security company, Schneier addresses the issue of security, saying “The best ways to increase security are not at the expense of privacy and liberty” (773). Schneier goes on to talk about other options for increased security, while maintaining our privacy and liberty. One of the suggestions he makes is, “When security is designed into a system, it can work without forcing people to give up their freedom” (Schneier 773). In other words, security needs to be considered at the beginning. No matter what the project, if security is taken into consideration at the start, it will not pose a problem in the end. Schneier asserts that security usually fails when it has been thrown in at the last minute or added later (773). His best example for how we can implement uncompromising security is a description of airports and the measures that are taken to ensure that it is safe to fly:
Giving airline pilots firearms, reinforcing cockpit doors, better authentication for airport maintenance workers, armed air marshals traveling on flights, and teaching flight attendants are all examples of suggested security measures that have no effect on individual privacy or liberties. (Schneier 773)

This is simply one way that security can be achieved without...

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