Deotological Perspective Of State Surveillance Essay

1992 words - 8 pages

Deontological perspective of sate surveillance
The deontological ethical system, ethical formalism, articulates that what is considered moral is the motive or intent of the actor and not the consequence of the action (Pollock, 2012 pg 26). Philosopher Immanuel Kant states that the only thing that is good is good will, if a person does an act from good will; it can be considered moral action even if it results in bad consequences. Kant states that you should treat people as ends in themselves and not as only means to an end. In order to examine if governmental monitoring is ethical from a Kantian perspective, an examination of the why government is monitoring its citizens must be discussed. ...view middle of the document...

e. the right to privacy. As a result the good is being prioritized over the right; to be exact the happiness provided by the illusion of security is given more sway than the rights given by the law.
This broad level of surveillance is used against all of the nation's citizens regardless of whether or not they committed a crime or are involved in terrorist activities. Consequently, it is unethical for the government to conduct broad surveillance on its citizens according to the Kantian theory because by doing this they are not treating the citizens of the country as unique individuals, but just as means to an end. The purpose of government cannot be to achieve the happiness of its citizens because men have different ideas of what happiness is, for this reason laws that prescribe how citizens ought to be made happy revoke all freedom and as a result all rights. The state exists only to create the right and does so by restricting each individual’s freedom so that it harmonizes with the freedom of everyone else. The right is created by the restriction of freedom to the degree that: The state attempts to have right based on happiness, such that good is prioritized over rights but if there is no freedom to decide our happiness then no right exists. Therefore rights cannot exist in a paternal state then there is lawlessness, such that the precedence of good leads to contradiction in that it implies law based on happiness is not law.
Utilitarianism outlook of mass surveillance
The doctrine of utilitarianism, a teleological ethical system, which emphasizes what is good, is determined by the consequences of an action. Under this system it is feasible to use mass surveillance to protect citizens and infringe on citizens right to privacy. The greater good in sacrificing privacy, is to prevent and stop future terrorist acts such as 9/11, the Oklahoma city bombing or the Boston bombings from happing again. The act of sacrificing the privacy of the populace maximizes the most happiness. In that if the government were to discontinue mass surveillance and there were to be an attack there would be a lot grief for losses and injuries suffered. The joy brought if the government stops an attack outweighs the violation of privacy.
Utilitarianism requires that we know what the consequences of our actions, which is impossible. As a result the action that is believed to bring about the best consequences of the alternatives available should be chosen. The rights of individual will be infringed (the right to privacy) however this violation allows many other people a chance to live. Advocates for other systems would not give up the right to privacy, even if it means that huge civilian causalities can occur. Therefore under this system mass surveillance is ethical, the protection of citizens outweigh that of privacy.
Natural Law
Natural law theory is a philosophical and legal belief that all humans are governed by basic innate laws, or laws of nature, which are...

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