Defense of Government Surveillance?

The oft heard defense of government surveillance is that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. But this simplistic approach misses other issues. If I’m dealing in business my conversations may be completely legal but they could also be a great advantage if known to my competitors. The idea of privacy is basic to our system of commerce.

Political rivals also receive and unfair advantage when they know the opponents strategy. I don’t mind if this advantage is gained through hard work and analytic research of open source material but when political organizations receive government (read belongs to us all) assistance over other organizations it is wrong.

The Bill of Rights and the Constitution defining our separation of powers was designed to stop a single entity from gaining unstoppable power. Monarchies were deemed dangerous and detrimental to liberty and personal freedoms. These systems of one ruler also lent themselves to conflicts and power grabs. Violence and treachery was the norm in these feudal systems. Is that what we want to return to?

Intelligence and surveillance is necessary to secure our nation but with rules and limits. Security is not the ultimate goal, liberty is.

Again I’ll re-post what Benjamin Franklin said: “Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security”

· lib·er·ty

[ líbbərtee ]  

1. right to choose: the freedom to think or act without being constrained by necessity or force

2. freedom: freedom from captivity or slavery

3. basic right: a political, social, and economic right that belongs to the citizens of a state or to all people

Just saying…..


2 thoughts on “Defense of Government Surveillance?

  1. BF was more specific than that. The stance loses all context and virtue without the specifics.

    “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    The obverse is that those who give up non-essential frivolous liberty (like abortion on demand, selling children into prostitution for fun and profit, generating racial class diversity liberty) for permanent or near permanent security is on the right path.

    The question is what is essential, what is not essential, what is temporary safety and what is near permanent safety?

    Would wire tapping of US citizens in return for no terrorist attacks over 8 years or foiling 100% of terrorist attacks for 8 years, be a good return on being spied on by the FBI (like they did with Right wing militants all the time)?

    Would NASA, Prism, and nationalizing of GM/Facebook be worth it, to trade those liberties in return for Obama’s results on Ft. Hood, Marathon bombers, Benghazi, and American safety from “terrorists”?

    A trick question perhaps, but in the same vein as the first questions.

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