The initial research I have done on the debate of National security vs. personal privacy brought me to an article written in the Huffington Post in the late 2000’s. While this article is old it covers the main catalyst of the discussion and is still written well after this event. For most people in this country the attacks of September 11th 2001 were an event that drastically changed how they felt about security of our country. After this event lots of people changed what they would give up in terms of privacy to keep something like this from happening again.
The writer of this article takes the stance that because of 9/11 and because of our general advances in technology our expectation of privacy does NOT need to be lower. In America our privacy laws have come about because of the advances in technology proving that advances in technology do not at all have to mean less privacy. The first example of American government adapting to changing technology is in 1960 when the supreme court ruled that telephone calls were protected by the constitution. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s the US made laws on all sorts of technologies. Then 9/11 happened. After this, people asked how the government could let this happen. We had all wanted privacy until we saw what that meant for the nation.
After 9/11 we didn’t see a reform in legislation to these privacy laws, there was no discussion of what should be done within the government’s limits that maximized security. We now know that the government began to illegally track us, all of us. “For electronic surveillance, they pushed aside the judiciary and asserted the President’s authority to intercept the private communications of American citizens within the United States. Even with the broad powers of the Patriot Act, the White House grew impatient and colluded with the telephone companies to disclose private customer records without legal basis or judicial review.” This a quote from this Huffington Post article written by Marc Rotenberg. Even if any of the government’s behaviors in the years following 9/11 were constitutionally justified they still wouldn’t be the right plan of action. Ben Franklin warned that sacrificing freedom and liberty does not necessarily increase security. Instead, we need a counterbalance of the powers of government and the means of oversight that are established.
This article’s main argument was that we don’t need to sacrifice security in the pursuit of heightened security in the modern age and Rotenberg uses 9/11, a defining moment in this country’s security and privacy to highlight the issues that arise when we don’t have a balance of security and personal privacy.