When I first entered this class, I was very pro-privacy. But after hearing arguments from both sides, I have come to understand that surveillance is necessary. And the argument on our side is not against surveillance, but rather focusing on the word “wide latitude”. What is considered a wide enough latitude? Who is the one to assess that? When the government wants more surveillance that might not have been proven necessary, who is to stop them? The emphasis should be placed on the checks and balances that should be implemented into any surveillance system, and the establishment of boundary between surveillance and privacy.
One might argue that in face of threats to national security, one’s feelings about privacy should be disregarded. I agree that in times of crisis there should be certain measures of crisis. However, it would be a great downplay to say that “privacy” is merely a word or a feeling. Privacy is tightly linked to the freedom of speech. Whoever controls the surveillance controls the information flow, and in our time, information flow is everything.
Surveillance is not harmless because it’s placed in the hands of men. I need not draw any example from history because we can all come to the conclusion that men can be evil. Men could be wrong. Power could be abused. And surveillance is probably one of the greatest powers of the government in our time. Electronic surveillance in the interest of national security is necessary, providing that it’s effective and it’s in the interest of national security. However, the downplay of the privacy of citizens is unacceptable. The foundation of the nation, the first amendment of speech and its free press clause, could be compromised if all privacy is invaded.