ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY(Final-TERM ASSIGNMENT) SUBMITTED BY: Kohinoor KhanROLL #: 21-11005SECTION: SUBMITTED TO: MA’AM Mrs Syeda MemoonaAli COURSE NAME/CODE: BASIC WRITINGSKILLS (ENGL 101)TITLE: ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAYDATED: 12/11/2018 PRIVACY OR NATIONAL SECURITY? The concept of security has a longer heritage thanthat of privacy. Since man stepped on Earth, survival has been his biggestchallenge and he has gone to great lengths to assure that his species avoidextinction.
Over the centuries the definition of security has evolved.Historically it meant ‘freedom from care, anxiety, worry or doubt’. Today theformal definition of security stands somewhat like this: ‘the state of beingprotected from or not exposed to danger’. In contemporary terms it can alsobe defined as ‘the amount of protection provided by the government bywatching over its citizens’.
This definition leads to a very seriousquestion. To what extent can the government watch over its citizens? It alsointroduces to us the term ‘privacy’ which means ‘freedom fromintrusion or to be left alone in one’s personal life, without facing interferencefrom any outside individual, group or factors’. Does watching over the citizens givegovernment the right to invade privacies? Is intruding in the public lives ofthe people the only way in which the government can protect citizens? To arational mind the answer should be a big no. The privacy of the publicshould not be sacrificed in the name of security because freedom, civilliberty, self determination and self-respect are essential rights of all.
The right tofreedom is a basic right of every citizen and is present in constitutions allaround the world.Unless a man has civil liberty, he cannot be called a free man. Todayhowever, the powerful governments have denied us this right and are constantlyintruding into our privacies by warrantless eavesdropping on phone calls,reading private e-mails, ordering secret demands of private records andconducting arrests without warrants.
Thiswas revealed in a recent leak when in June 2013, former CIA contractor Edward Snowden leakedinformation revealing that the United States government had an extensivesurveillance programme known as PRISM, which monitored communications on aglobal scale. It also emerged that GCHQ, the UK’s intelligence and securityagency, was intercepting and processing billions of communications every dayand sharing the information with the US. That project, known as Tempora hadbeen in existence since the beginning of 2012 and included recordings of phonecalls, the content of E-mail messages, entries of social media sites likeFacebook and the history of an internet users access to websites.
Thirdparties can access our private data anytime and anywhere and the information isalso shared with multi-national companies so that they can study human behaviortowards the market and make better advertisements and products. In other wordsour privacy is intruded for the mere purpose that some companies would makehigher profits. In Pakistan there have been cases where innocent people werepicked up by intelligence agencies without warrant and later found in massgraves. Some are still missing and theirdead bodies have not been found. The condition of today’s man in thisregard is no better than that of medieval time’s slaves who were kept understrict check and scrutiny by their masters and used for their own luxury.Recently, strict airport checks have also denied a man’s right ofself-respect.
People who want to visit U.S.A or otherwestern countries go through strip search and full body checking by the airportauthorities. For most people this is shameful and unacceptable because it isnot only an intrusion into privacy but a direct attack on the emotions andfeelings of a person. They are treated as suspects rather than just customers.And then again many cultures and religions won’t allow for such a thing. Thishas caused many people who saw bright futures in western countries to rejectthe idea of going there and has crushed their dreams.
The victims are usuallythe citizens of Muslim world and thus the act also comes under religiousdiscrimination and persecution. There can be other ways in which airportsecurity can be tightened. For e.g. giving airline pilots firearms, reinforcingcockpit doors, better authentication of airport maintenance workers, armed airmarshals travelling on flights and teaching flight attendants karate are allexamples of suggested security measures that have no effect on individualprivacy or liberties.
We do not necessarily have to invade privacies to providebetter security on airports.The most commonretort against privacy advocates by pro-security members is this line: “Ifyou aren’t doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?” In this they assume thatprivacy is all about hiding a wrong while it is not. The answer to them issimply this: “Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement formaintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.” We do nothing wrongwhen we make love or go to the bathroom.
We are not deliberately hiding anythingwhen we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep privatejournals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret loversand then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.
Other members ofpro-security would argue that it is the duty of the government to providesecurity to its citizens and that it does not matter if we sacrifice a portionof our liberty for security. Well to them the answer is that many evil events in history startedwith good intentions and few cases of injustice. Allowing even a few abuses asan acceptable side effect of improved security will change the tolerance levelof the public and lead to a belief that rights such as the presumption ofinnocence and habeas corpus (which prevents the state from imprisoning someonewithout charging them with a crime and then trying them) are a negotiableluxury. As American president Benjamin Franklin rightly said “those who wouldgive up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neitherliberty nor safety”. Moreoverchanging the constitution on civil liberties and freedom for added securitywould show the terrorists that they have been successful in changing thelifestyles of people and the alternative laws can also be misused by thegovernments for their own benefits.
It would mean that it is the terrorists who are in thedriving seat and not the government. Also, we have seen that tight securitychecks have been unsuccessful against suicide bombers who easily explodethemselves while they are being checked. The governments of the world, whospend billions of dollars on security, should devise alternative plans ofprevention of terrorism and develop stronger intelligence networks. Terroristsshould be targeted at their places of generation and their networks cut fromthe grass root level, rather than allowing them to grow and then taking alate-stage action. Also, if the constitution makes a law for search and arrestwithout warrant, the government can use the law to persecute opposition workersso it would be too risky to bring in such a law.
All in all, we canconclude that security can be provided without sacrificing the basic humanrights of freedom and civil liberty. Favouring security over privacy would havedamaging implications on social lives, can disturb the day to day lives ofevery individual and lead to human abuse. In alternative we should look forways that can improve security structure and at the same time ensure all ourrights of freedom and civil liberty. REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY· http://www.debatingmatters.com/topicguides/topicguide/security_vs_privacy/· https://www.schneier.com/essays/archives/2001/10/protecting_privacy_a.html· http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/19/world/europe/join-the-debate-paris-attacks-reignite-passions-over-civil-liberties-and-national-security.html?_r=0· http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-mockaitis/security-vs-civil-liberties_b_9273478.html· http://debatewise.org/debates/2663-security-vs-liberty/ INSTRUCTOR REMARKS AND COMMENTS