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Individual Privacy vs. National Security

The manner in which privacy relates to national security is among some of the hottest debates that have been witnessed in the recent past. Many counterarguments surrounding this issue are witnessed in most if not all debates, thus making it difficult to ascertain the truth. In this regard, the topic selected for the research paper is “Individual privacy vs. national security”. The topic has been selected because of the complicated nature of views that have been expressed by people from different backgrounds. The nature of the issue also provides a sturdy platform to conduct the research given the fact that there are questions that require professional answers based on research.

Regarding multiple debates that the topic elicits in most if not all situations, this paper will seek to address a certain issue that surrounds the topic. Since privacy is a particularly sensitive issue, the research will focus on how it is affected by factors that are related to national security. This means that the discussion will be limited to the relationship between the two issues, which is national security and individual’s privacy. Since the question of national levels of security is highlighted, inferences are going to be drawn from the examples such a terrorism.

It is beyond any reasonable doubt that privacy is an extremely valuable human right. However, many security agencies exercise their mandate in a manner suggesting that national security is more valuable than individual privacy. This claim by different security forces is arguably true or even false depending on the grounds it is based on. Although everyone will expect sufficient security measures, it is also pertinent to note that criminals may use the privacy factor to plan and execute their missions. When such possibilities are explored, it becomes particularly challenging to establish the substance brought forward regarding what should be prioritized, national security or privacy.

Individual privacy has introduced a crisis in relation to national security. This crisis is likely to continue as long as people are not conversant with current security concerns. Although national security is paramount, security agents are using this fact to violate individual privacy. This introduces a factor referred to as the legitimate limitation on personal privacy (Bier, 1980). In other words, this credible reason is being used to justify intrusion into one’s privacy. The resultant effect is breaking of the common law that has been used for a long time to protect individuals and property from trespassers. However, there is an enormous possibility that national security will be given priority to over individual privacy because security is also an essential requirement that is safeguarded by the constitution.

One of the most recent events that demonstrates the conflicting side of individual privacy and national security is the September 11, 2001 terroristic attack. This event can be used to argue for the claim that national security is more valuable than individual privacy. It is a common knowledge that everyone touched by the event in any way would prefer some intrusion into individual privacy. This was if the action was directed at the prevention of such eventualities. According to the United States National Research Council (2008, p.2), national security has been put under constant threat by terrorism. This is because terrorists have formulated new ways of attacking and rely on the available communication structures when planning their activities. It is for such a reason that the United States government would prefer investigating even private information with an aim of tracking criminal plans. The most common method used is the observation and tracking of individuals for security purposes. Although this is not acceptable to many, it is probably beneficial because the data received from different sources is kept secret. This means that no rights of the citizens are violated as argued by different groups, thus making it indispensable to intrude individual privacy for security reasons.

The highest quality information based on the accuracy and reliability is critical since only reliable sources will be selected. Such sources will include government materials, books, and published opinions; these will be from various parts of the world. This will give a proper overview of the whole problem, not only locally but also at international levels. This means that data collection will be conducted using secondary sources, which are found in libraries and online.

The preliminary findings of this research indicate that many people disagree with the suggestion to intrude individual privacy for security reasons. This is mainly associated with the fact that traditional law suggests contrary. According to Mitrano (2003, p. 54), individual privacy is a constitutional right, especially in the American society. The founding father of the United States believed that individual privacy ensured that citizens were autonomous entities, thus creating a room for democracy in the nation. However, current situation will require the government and the people to work together by allowing the government surveillance on the people.

Seemingly, the present-day situation will dictate the manner in which the whole issue is addressed. This is because the laws that started to initiate government intervention by surveillance were introduced after a number of terror attacks. The homeland security act and the United States patriot act came only six weeks after this event, thus indicating the urgency to allow surveillance into various personal affairs by security agencies. Preliminary findings also indicate that changes in the ways people do things has prompted the push for the deviation from traditional respect for individual privacy. Criminals are using the advancements in technology to commit a crime. In addition, technology has also increased the number of crimes that can be committed if no surveillance is allowed for some situations.

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