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Essay on National Security vs. the Right to Privacy

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"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller

Security has been a common topic of controversy since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and even before then it was a constant subject. The image of buildings collapsing and billowing smoke has been engraved into the minds of Americans and will remain there for years to come. Security is an issue that we encounter everyday. Whether it is driving down the freeway or walking into the grocery store; we are cautious of what is going on around us. Men and women across this country are dedicated to enforcing laws; laws that are designed to ensure the security of our communities and our nation. In an effort to project a feeling of security, the government has set up a department whose sole purpose is to protect; the department of Homeland Security. We install surveillance cameras in banks, stores, restaurants, and homes. Those that we feel need more protection, such as celebrities and politicians, are constantly surrounded by body guards. One cannot work with children without having a detailed background check and receiving priority clearance. If one is willing to look hard enough or spend enough money, they can retrieve information on any specific person, and barely break a sweat.

Security is not something that can be compromised; however, it does not have to come at the expense of our privacy. It is possible to maintain our own identities, while guaranteeing the security of our nation. As Bruce Schneier argues in his commentary, Protecting privacy and liberty, security and privacy are not two sides of an equation. (773)

In an article for an Internet security company, Schne...


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...h. 68 (2001): 105-113. Spring 2001. Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. University Library, Indianapolis, IN. 15 March 2005.

Schneier, Bruce. “Protecting privacy and liberty.” Nature. 413 (2001): 773. 25 October 2001. Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. University Library, Indianapolis, IN. 15 March 2005.

Sopinka, John. “Freedom of Speech and Privacy in the Information Age.” The Information Society. 13. (1997): 171-184. April-June 1997. Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. University Library, Indianapolis, IN. 15 March 2005.

Swartz, Nikki. “The World Moves Toward Freedom of Information.” The Information Management Journal. (2004): 20-23. November-December 2004. Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. University Library, Indianapolis, IN. 15 March 2005.

“Preserving Life and Liberty.”
“Airport Security Hasn’t Improved, Reports Conclude.” AOL News. 16 April 2005.


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