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What's More Important: Security or Privacy?

Crouton

Ninja
V.I.P.
Now I know this discussion has likely happened in here before, but I've been thinking a lot about this lately, so thought I'd see if we can get something going anyway.

Basically, which is more important to you, your own privacy, or feeling safe from threats of terror?

Whenever something is released about... let's say the NSA spying on people there's always a huge backlash. When we find out the Government screens our calls, reads our e-mails, monitors our social media etc, then there's always people claiming their privacy has been invaded. Yet on the other hand, do these people also not want to be protected from terrorism?

The Government has task-forces assigned to finding plots of terror before they happen, and stopping them in advance. They do this by scanning emails, listening to phones, monitoring social media etc. So in the end, we can't have one without the other. We can't have a Government trying to prevent these acts unless they spy on us all.

Personally, if the Government is reading my e-mails, I don't really care, because I have nothing to hide. I know they are most likely scanning through millions of items every day, probably searching for key words and who knows what else, so why would they care that I just sent a meme to a friend, or spend way too much time on youtube, they have MUCH bigger fish to fry.

So in your opinion, what's worse? Being spied on or being protected? Would you rather your privacy be 100% well... private, or would you rather the Government keep working to prevent acts of terror before they happen?
 

Major

4 legs good 2 legs bad
V.I.P.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Regardless of the original context of the quote, I think it can be applied to the Privacy vs Security debate pretty well.

Personally, if the Government is reading my e-mails, I don't really care, because I have nothing to hide.
By that same logic, would you be ok with mandatory audio/video monitors in every household? Or random searches without probable cause? Good guys have nothing to hide, right? Where do you draw the line?

Would you rather your privacy be 100% well... private, or would you rather the Government keep working to prevent acts of terror before they happen?
Why can't we have both? I think the mistake a lot of people make is assuming that handing over more power to the government will make them more secure, but that's not necessarily true. Maybe in a perfect world. But in the real world, those powers will inevitably be abused if history is any indication. Once you give up your rights and your freedoms, it's almost impossible to get them back.
 

Hilander

Free Spirit
Staff member
V.I.P.
I would have to go with privacy. Seems like to me the more liberties you give government the more they take. Not that I want to tie their hands completely but unless they have a reason to suspect someone of a plotting a crime they have no business snooping and should have to get a warrant to do so.
 

CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Regardless of the original context of the quote, I think it can be applied to the Privacy vs Security debate pretty well.


By that same logic, would you be ok with mandatory audio/video monitors in every household? Or random searches without probable cause? Good guys have nothing to hide, right? Where do you draw the line?


Why can't we have both? I think the mistake a lot of people make is assuming that handing over more power to the government will make them more secure, but that's not necessarily true. Maybe in a perfect world. But in the real world, those powers will inevitably be abused if history is any indication. Once you give up your rights and your freedoms, it's almost impossible to get them back.
This.

This is correct, handing over more power to the government will not always make you more secure. History is replete with examples of that power being abused.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
Are they really mutually exclusive? How can one really feel safe and secured without the sense of privacy? Like living in a glass house - if everyone did that, sure you can see if your next door neighbor is making a bomb or aiming his rifle at you but would you really feel safe knowing your every move is also being (or could be) monitored by everyone else?

Maybe your neighbor will say "Don't worry, I will not watch when you poop or when you're naked, or having sex." but that's just putting a lot of faith (perhaps too much) in him.
 

thealigator

Registered Member
I remember having a discussion with a friend one evening mainly because MP Theresa May want to bring in laws where ISPs could track peoples activity and it be reported on. I mentioned that I was consider moving to TOR if this were the case. He argued the "nothing to hide nothing to fear" analogy which I do understand but I countered this by asking him "do you like it when police officers come up to you in the street for no good reason asking if you have done anything wrong", in other words; guilty until proven innocent.

He argued there was no similarity, I argued it was basically the same.

I don't like my ISP or government knowing what I am doing online, not because I am doing anything I think would land me in trouble but because I have never had it explained to me what is going to happen with my data or how long they are going to have it one record for.
 

Crouton

Ninja
V.I.P.
By that same logic, would you be ok with mandatory audio/video monitors in every household? Or random searches without probable cause? Good guys have nothing to hide, right? Where do you draw the line?

Why can't we have both? I think the mistake a lot of people make is assuming that handing over more power to the government will make them more secure, but that's not necessarily true. Maybe in a perfect world. But in the real world, those powers will inevitably be abused if history is any indication. Once you give up your rights and your freedoms, it's almost impossible to get them back.
In an ideal world, it would be great to have both. But critically thinking, do you really think that's possible? An act of terror can be many things, someone could grab some guns on the spur of the moment, go out into a street and shoot up dozens of people. This could be seen as a form of terrorism that cannot be stopped, as there's no hints that it's about to happen.

On the other hand, many complicated terror plots are planned, months, sometimes even years in advance, sometimes even between borders and countries. And a lot of the time these are planned using technology. So knowing this, how can we really have both at the same time?

I've read countless articles of terror plots being foiled by the Government tracking Facebook interactions, bank accounts, hell even one group was using a Playstation chat which they thought would be under the radar. In the modern world, this is one of the most common and effective ways to stop criminals.

The ones that they miss turn into dangerous situations. Things like the Paris attacks and Brussels bombing were sophisticated, and most likely had a lot of planning involved. Those ones managed to slip through but many more don't due to people scanning online for information.

I feel like your leap to having mandatory video surveillance in each home is a bit of an extreme stretch from scanning online media/phone calls. But truthfully, how many people have webcams in their homes already? These are easily hacked. I personally keep mine covered, maybe I am more paranoid than most. The ability to hack into video of homes already exists and it's being utilized by criminals. I'd be more concerned about that than an anti-terror task force bugging your home, or the idea of the Government installing "mandatory" cameras.

Also, I'm always curious as to what people think the Government is doing exactly. Do you really think there's people out there listening to every phone call, reading every e-mail, looking at every internet browser history. That's statistically impossible. Most of our data would be completely ignored, they aren't going through every single thing each person does, they would have sophisticated ways of scanning through large amounts of data to pick out anything dangerous and relevant to national or international security.

I feel like some people who are worried about their privacy overestimate how much the Government cares about the photo of your daughter you sent to your sister, or the recipe you looked up, or even the porn you watch. This is content that is ignored in the bigger picture.
 
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NewGamePlus

Registered Member
Security. Since privacy is nil now for me anyways.

Easy answer when it shouldn't be.

But then again... if a particular security risk is big enough to be able to take me out all at once without much if any warning and without anything I can do to stop it in spite of my best efforts.......... then the importance shifts the other way again to privacy since being at "complete and total risk" like that is exactly what I need to stick it to the people who fucked up my privacy.

So it's basically..... "Security unless you can take me out all at once".
 

Major

4 legs good 2 legs bad
V.I.P.
In an ideal world, it would be great to have both. But critically thinking, do you really think that's possible?
...
So knowing this, how can we really have both at the same time?
First of all, I don't think it's possible to ever be 100% secure, no matter how much or how little privacy we have. So with that in mind, yes, I do believe it's possible to have both relative security and privacy simultaneously. And honestly, I think we have it right now (or had it before 9/11 at least), but people are willing to give up their freedoms and privacy out of fear. And I don't think we're any safer now than we were pre-9/11, even with more government surveillance. Sometimes you don't know how good you have it until it's taken away from you, and we could be heading down that road now as our lives become less private.

I feel like your leap to having mandatory video surveillance in each home is a bit of an extreme stretch from scanning online media/phone calls.
It's reductio ad absurdum. I applied your logic of "I have nothing to hide" to a more extreme, yet still completely plausible scenario of having mandatory video surveillance inside of every home. If you would not be okay with the video surveillance despite still having "nothing to hide," then it shows that the logic was flawed to begin with and is not a valid argument to justify less extreme measures.
 

Crouton

Ninja
V.I.P.
First of all, I don't think it's possible to ever be 100% secure, no matter how much or how little privacy we have. So with that in mind, yes, I do believe it's possible to have both relative security and privacy simultaneously. And honestly, I think we have it right now (or had it before 9/11 at least), but people are willing to give up their freedoms and privacy out of fear. And I don't think we're any safer now than we were pre-9/11, even with more government surveillance. Sometimes you don't know how good you have it until it's taken away from you, and we could be heading down that road now as our lives become less private.
Not 100% no, I don't think we could ever get to a stage of being 100% protected, but some is better than none isn't it? You still think we can prevent at least some attacks without using technology? How do you think it's possible? If terrorists are using technology to plan their attacks, then how do we find and stop them without using technology in return. That's the main thing I'm curious about. Don't get me wrong, I'd love it if this were possible. I just don't see how it could be done.

It's reductio ad absurdum. I applied your logic of "I have nothing to hide" to a more extreme, yet still completely plausible scenario of having mandatory video surveillance inside of every home. If you would not be okay with the video surveillance despite still having "nothing to hide," then it shows that the logic was flawed to begin with and is not a valid argument to justify less extreme measures.
Having nothing to hide doesn't mean you want to show everything. There's a huge leap in difference to the Government scanning e-mails and phone calls for key words, and then having 24 hour surveillance in your home. You can having nothing to hide but still not want someone to watch you take a shit, or have sex, or whatever other private things happen in your house. I know you yourself admitted this is you taking the example to an extreme, but the leap is so extreme in this case that I don't really see how it's relevant to this conversation.
 
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