Almost everyone agrees that safety and privacy are two things that people have the fundamental right to enjoy. Rarely do we hear an argument deliberately stating that either of these concepts should be intentionally disregarded. In a perfect world, everyone could feel protected from physical harm as well as from privacy invasion. Unfortunately, however, we do not live in a perfect world. We live in a society where priorities must be evaluated and sacrifices must be made in order to promote the greater good.
Today, we face a growing prevalence of terrorism and violent crime that poses a threat to national security. It is important that our government is given freedom to use electronic surveillance because it would allow it to collect information that could prevent these horrible incidents from ever taking place. If federal agencies such as the NSA or the FBI could monitor people’s online behavior, they could identify red flags and potentially intervene before tragedy strikes. Even if the chances are slim, it’s still worth a try.
Some believe that the government would be overstepping its bounds with surveillance like this, saying it has no right to collect personal data. However, if surveillance has a chance to save lives, one could argue that it is acceptable to use it at the expense of some degree of personal privacy. As long as you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to be afraid of. The primary purpose of any government is to protect its citizens. It has no interest in snooping around an ordinary person’s data, and would not go out of its way to bother anyone who doesn’t pose a threat. Overall, it’s important that we have a little bit more faith in the intentions of our government. We are currently in the midst of an informational arms race. The enemy is using every resource at their disposal to try to come out on top – shouldn’t we do the same?