Is privacy more important than national security?

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Every country values its domestic security, and conducting bag checks in shopping malls is just one of the many ways to strengthen internal security. The rise of insurgents and terrorist groups posing a threat to our national security has left no room for hesitation. The anti-terrorism department must constantly remind every household of the importance of being vigilant when it comes to terrorist-related issues (Gonchar 1). The American people were outraged by the US government's collection of phone records, which primarily targeted ordinary citizens, and which came after the government's secret surveillance operations were revealed. The majority of the American people showed little or no concern about the possibility the monitoring of their internet activities or phone calls. A larger percentage of about fifty-seven argued that the leaked files on surveillance programs would not compromise the United States ability to combat and prevent terrorism attacks on American soil in the future (Gonchar 1).

The main reason why privacy is yearned for by everybody is that there is a tendency of dramatically behavioral change when we are in a state we think or believe we are on monitoring or surveillance. According to the results from several studies by psychologists, it has been proved that the human behavior is massively more submissive when they are aware of being under surveillance. This appropriate action is a fact that specialists from almost every field of discipline have documented (Simmons). Human being engages a more general conduct when under observation, this is a fact proven by several studies by psychiatrists. Research has also noticed that the decisions made by the people under watch are not as a consequence of their assistance but are most made is a particular way to sooth the expectations of others (Simmons). Their decisions are the orders of the societal beliefs rather than the results of their intervention.

A perfect example is the prison scenario and the prison wardens who have known the behavior change for a long time. The prison watchtower in Panopticon is located in such a way that the inmates cannot see its position. Due to this reason, they assumed to be under constant watch. As a result, they presented good behavior. According to Michael Foucault, his remarks were, "the institution can view." This is not only particular to prison but is valid for any other organization with the interest of controlling human behavior. The modern western society control employs the mindset framework to create a mass surveillance mind prison (McClure). This technique has proven to be very useful to such an extent that brutal force and weapons of tyranny are no longer needed in controlling the masses.

The current surveillance system manifests in two different ways on the subjects. It has been made to be believed that people who care about their personal privacy are the bad ones and secondly the only time when someone can be free from the danger of surveillance is when they are willing to reduce themselves to sufficiently innocent and unthreatening to those controlling the system. Conformity and Submission are the byproducts of constant monitoring exercise on all the people of an individual society. On the other hand, creativity and exploration can also develop among people when they have the reason to believe that they are free from any form of surveillance and are experiencing right privacy in whatever they endeavor into (McClure).

It can be argued that there is greater public protection that offered by the national security and surveillance especially the minorities, immigrants and LGBTQ community (Starkman 1). National security is the foundation for a pluralist and inclusive society. When there are privacy sacrifices made by most of the Americans regardless of the fact that sacrifice of privacy may not be seen as necessary US constitutional right, it is still critical (Starkman 1).

According to Centre for global governance innovation global survey which involved twenty-four thousand one hundred and forty-three people, seventy percent of them agree with the ideology of national security (Alfreds). They reasoned that the authorities enforcing the law must have the privilege of access to all digital and online communication gadgets owned by the people. In the scenarios where a person would be suspected of a criminal offense, the approval rates would soar higher. The survey was conducted at a time when there was a vigorous battle between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Apple over the access to data stored in a phone that was initially possessed by San Bernardino gangsters (Alfreds).

In conclusion, the national security should be given a higher priority than one's privacy. The benefits of National Security clearly outweighs personal privacy. It has been proven that the behavior of the people can be regulated just with a set of surveillance cameras. This leads to reduced crime rate and lower cost of hiring security personnel. Monitoring can also be used to track, predict and prevent a future terrorist plan before it can be initiated.

Works Cited

Alfreds, Duncan. National security 'more important' than privacy. Cape Town, 3 March 2016.

Is national security more important than individual privacy? Dir. Richard Simmons. Perf. Benjamin Evans. 2015.

Is national security more important than individual privacy? Dir. Digital team. Perf. Richard Simmons. 2015.

Starkman, Ruth. Is National Security More Important Than Individual Right To Privacy?” A Student Debate. California, 14 November 2014.

Why privacy matters. Dir. Laura McClure. Perf. Glenn Greenwald at TEDGlobal 2014. 2014. blog.

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