Edward Snowden: Man Standing Above Fire

November 11, 2013
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He is standing above fire. He is the most significant leaker in United States history. He is creating momentous tension between alliance countries. He was a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor. He raises the hugest dispute in the world between the balance of privacy and security. He is Edward Snowden. The utopia between privacy and security is not easy to find, and a slight tilt towards one side will affect people's view of him as a hero, or traitor. However, if people are nonexistent, how can they obtain privacy? Freedom is not free. Security always comes before privacy; therefore Snowden is a traitor.

Finding-a-needle-in-an-ocean of searching for potential attackers before their attempts is part of the big picture of fighting terrorism, and collection of large amounts of data is an inefficient, yet important way to increase the chance of finding the needle. “The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records, …” according to The New York Times. If protection comes at the cost of mainly Internet or phone privacy, then it is worthwhile.

What is there to lose for the victims of espionage when they are not lawbreakers or future terrorists? A rumor has been spreading around that NSA is even peeping at Vatican and Pope Francis' phone calls. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi states that "We don't know anything about this, and in any case we don't have any concerns about it," he said in a statement. Politicians are praising the value of freedom, while they are afraid of the government spying on their foibles. Citizens have nothing to lose from the espionage as long as they are as clean as a piece of white paper.

However, privacy from government surveillance is the hallmark of a free society. On average, everyone will be spied on or recorded on tape at least once per day. Democracy gives its supporters no freedom in the Fourth Amendment, which is ironic due to NSA's claim that it “[processes] and [adjudicates] security clearances based on federal law ”.

Laws are written by people; they can also be amended by people. Back then, even before the Industrial Revolution when technology is not present, people communicate through hand-written letters that are far more easy track than the humongous database online today. This also applies to the case of gun possession. The NSA is avoiding the repeating heartache of 9/11 by sacrificing citizens' privacy, and Laura Simmons “will happily give up [her] privacy”.

The NSA's mission is to reduce the chance of terrorism; but Sowden is informing all terrorists with a huge microphone to be aware of espionage. He should purchase a billion huge blimps that float all over the world that say, “Beware. We are coming after you.” Obviously, terrorists are increasing use of internet and technology, and plan out another 9/11 tragedy using FaceBook. If Snowden is not considered a traitor, then who will be? The NSA, who is protecting US citizens' lives?

This balance between privacy and security will forever be an unsolved case. Whether people think law is above all logical reason, or security is worthwhile at the cost of privacy, it is up to the United States to determine a decision. After all, United States is a democracy, yes?

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RyanD said...
Nov. 18, 2013 at 12:46 am
But Edward Snowden revealed how the government is spying on us. He had the courage to do so. He made the government clear, which benefits us. Why is he a traitor then???
TINAAAA said...
Nov. 18, 2013 at 12:45 am
Great analysis! I love your ideas and views!
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