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Security Versus Privacy Essay

2327 words - 9 pages

Security Versus Privacy

As a result of 9/11, our country has been faced with a new issue: electronic privacy. The terrorists that attacked us used our own technology against us to protect their activities from our view. Because of this, we are now forced to make a decision between two desirable things: privacy and national security. On the one hand, our right to privacy will ensure that our personal rights are not violated, whereas, on the other hand, national security would allow us some comfort against the evil in the world. What are we supposed to do? This issue, however it is decided, will have tremendous impact on each and every one of our lives. The ruling that the government makes concerning this issue will greatly alter the course of our nation and our lives. Our world can either offer complete privacy, which will protect even the criminals from sight, or it will be a closely monitored space that almost completely eliminates our rights as a free person. Now, it is very unlikely, however, that the world will reach one of these two extremes. A quote from The Economist says it well. 'Amidst all this sound and fury, both sides need to consider the fundamental question: in light of the attack, where must the balancing point between security and liberty be set' (The Economist). It does not seem possible to stray to either extreme. Instead, these two issues are dependent on each other. Therefore, our country must seek to find a balance between the two extremes. The government will, however, end up favoring one idea over the other, and that is the crucial part. Their decision will forever change the way people use technology, for personal, business, and other uses.

There are currently a few main solutions pertaining to this issue. First, there are the solutions proposed by those who support national security. These people have proposed that the sale of encryption technologies be severely limited. This would eliminate the sheltering of illegal activities and allow increased, tighter surveillance of cyberspace. Another similar solution would be to give the government a back-door into all areas of cyberspace. Basically, that would allow them to see whatever they want, whenever they want. Encryption technology would not have to be eliminated, but it would be required to include a government ?back door?, so that any encryption code can be quickly broken if the need arises. A writer for the Christian Science Monitor put it this way: ?people are willing to trade almost anything for increased security, if they think it would make a difference? (Grier). Overall, however, this position is held by very few people. The last solution is the one that is generally supported by those who favor the right of personal privacy. They propose that everything should remain as it is. There will be some minor adjustments to the current encryption technologies, but it will be allowed to exist free of any back-doors or restrictions. In a debate of the new...

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