National Security vs. Personal Privacy

There are always two sides of any story. In good old days we trusted our postal dept. to deliver our messages across. The postcards, telegrams all were open. Even the expensive trunk calls, registered post were done with the help of an intermediate person. Slowly the mode of communication evolved. From automated phone lines to cell phone, from letter to email, from IM chat to BBM chat, communication was never so personal than before.  Technology provided the right combination of privacy and security whether we are chatting with a friend or doing a business transaction over the net.  Compromising on any aspect was unnecessary.

The technology and its advancement has benefited all. This level of security and privacy were boon for everyone. So naturally the conman and extremists start using it for their own goal which became a national threat. In fact the anti-social elements became the advanced users of technology to carry out terror operations in global scale.

It is primary duty of every state to protect its citizens. No wonder the states had to go extra mile for that. Every state that has experienced terrorist attack or in terror radar has passed laws to eavesdrop phone conversations, monitor online communications, track bank transactions, check medical records of suspects. This can be done without providing any concrete evidence to higher authorities or even letting them know about the operation in advance. This is absolute necessary in current age where everything happens in minutes. There is no use of picking evidence after the event happened. It is always better to stop it in advance. That means sweeping power for authorities.

This result in the debate, National Security vs. Personal Privacy and we all agree both are essential. The absoluteness of one is threat to another. This suggests the need of a line to be drawn in between. The govt. has to walk on a tightrope protecting the civil rights of its citizens while ensuring national security.

The history proved some countries are successfully used this power to protect its citizen. The recent Snowden episode opened a Pandora’s Box about how US govt. is snooping on private lives of its citizens. It is another matter that how they are using such enormous data but they successfully thwarted any major terror attack on its soil since 9/11. Can’t say same about India although our govt. too snooping on its citizens albeit for political and personal reasons.

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