The fact that most democracies face stiff security threat from factions that recognize no national borders, it has necessitated for tight and tough security measures. The measures may be blameless in ensuring the national security is in place as well as the wellbeing of the citizens. The security measures have, however, proofed controversial as they have lost boundaries between security and personal privacy. In the real sense, the citizens have to choose between their privacy and their security. The factors provided for in this debate are the use of the CCTV cameras in different areas as well as data mining from other sites including the social sites like face book and twitter. This debate came to be when the European Union pledged to overhaul its security and data bank rules 2011 and the American government pledged to increase its security to its citizens. The government measures to improve on security are to the best interests of the citizens but even then, the individual freedom and liberty should be guaranteed to all citizens. This is because no right should be withdrawn in favor of another. Rather, the government has the mandate to provide all (Parenti 2002).
The practice of data mining from the social sites will be a no secret thing in what the government terms as upholding the security. The government attempt to strike deals with sites like Google, face book and even hack individuals’ emails will be a step back to yester years when the governments censured information and prevented rights to self expression. According to Kaminer, the same happened when Adams brought in the Alien and Sedition Act which protected him and his government against criticism. (Chapter 12 page 436). The fact that some confidential and privy information may pass through these sites will be a formidable injustice to the citizens and their interests. The information is sometimes privy and confidential. Furthermore, the sites have become a common place for citizens to pour out their dissatisfaction with various departments. It would then be ironical to suppress this kind of freedom. It can not be denied that the site can be a source of harmful information but then generalizing the whole information and the nation would be doing a lot of injustice to the people. This will automatically be going against the fourth amendment which protects the citizens against unnecessary seizures and searches without any reasonable cause (Kaminer 2002). Although the government claims that this will affect non citizens only, it is today a challenge to distinguish between what is foreign and domestic thus a possibility of a citizen getting into the cross fire. According to Rotenberg, the intensity with which the intelligence activities will affect the American citizens is questionable. He states, ‘But I think the foremost concern about the activities of government have to do with the extent to which there is surveillance in the criminal context, in the intelligence gathering context that with effects to the American public’.( Baliles 2007. P. 19).
The continued use of technology by the government to attain biometric identification, DNA data of individuals and other sensitive data is one of the things that have previously attracted opposition and lawsuits among human rights activists and other individuals deeply concerned with the mull practice. Although the law suits set are to be lost, the issue in question is sensitive and should be addressed to regain the government trust among the citizens. The likelihood of usage of the information and the sensitive data for personal gains by individuals is high and at the end may culminate to scandals like experienced in the past. This according to Wendy Kaminer, they constitute a threat to the general public. He states, ‘Considering the way face recognition systems have been misused so far, it would be fair to say they pose a threat’. (Chapter 12, page 436). The government, apart from telling the citizens the reason for collecting the data only; it would also be wise to ensure the citizens of handling and use of the data. The release of the data to other people or organizations which will at the end misuse it will be a substantial abuse of rights of the individual. The government should therefore work to get out fear from the citizens. The assumption of the good faith by the data handlers is weird and holds no water. It lacks tenacity and responsibility on the government part. The giving of this information should be offered as a social contract rather than an act of social responsibility and royalty by the citizens. This way, the government will guarantee the citizens their liberty to clear conscience (Chesterman 2010).
The government has the mandate to provide both liberty and security to its citizens. Today, and in the midst of the prevailing measures depicted as providence of national security, it has come up more like the exchange of one for the other, going by Franklin’s words, ‘Any society that gives up liberty for security loses both..’. The government and other players have gradually forced the citizens to give up their freedom in exchange for their safety. In real since, the government is guaranteeing physical security for exchange of psychological security. The question that could be asked is, what security does one have when their emails, social sites accounts and other private information is publicized or hacked? Like wise, what security is their when security personnel are using CCTV cameras to peer through women’s skirts in airports and other public places? This according to Kaminer cannot be assured, he quotes instances where the data has been misused or misrepresented. He says, ‘Technological inaccuracies like this were coupled with human errors and abuses of discretion’. (Chapter 12, page 436). According to Marc Rotenberg, the government should collect any data of interest from the public or individual with the authority of the judge as America is a country that recognizes the rule of law. He stated during the debate, ‘When we give the government the authority to protect the citizens, we create a means of accountability and oversight to ensure the authority is properly used’. (Baliles 2007p.8). These instances show the government is causing one kind of insecurity when providing the other. This causes the citizens to lose security and liberty.
In conclusion, the debate appears to favor the activists who oppose any move by the government to deprive the citizens off the liberty they have enjoyed and fought for over years. Although the issue of security is sensitive and should be taken to account, it would also be advantageous if the government was responsible enough and provided for both, after all, that is its mandate. It is also extremely uncomfortable when anyone checks through an individual’s property and details in claim that they are ensuring their safety. It disturbs the conscience.’ Alderdice: It s just majorly uncomfortable to feel that somebody s been going through my property. My space is in jeopardy which is indispensable. It generates feelings for me. (Baliles 2007.p.12). The government should therefore find a better way of ensuring the citizens are at most secure without necessary taking them back to political slavery that they endured many years ago. The same technology that is quick evolving should be used to ensure security.