Security or Privacy? Can we have both?


Albert Einstein

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

– Albert Einstein


What’s surprising to me, after watching the videos and reading the articles for this week, is how surprised people were that our government was doing this. We have read books and watched movies about this very thing for decades. The imagination that these writers have shared on paper and film are probably only the tip of the iceberg to what actually occurs.


It took me some contemplating, after this week’s material, to come up with an opinion. And, I’m sorry to say I’m just as two-faced, walking the line, as I was before. This is such a sensitive subject, with many angles to pursue. I can see President Obama’s dilemma with this when he was briefed on what the Program actually did. Unfortunately, the American people are not happy about the results, regardless of intentions.


First, I must say that if someone were to spy on my calls or messages, they would use them for a bedtime story. If there happens to be someone out there spying on me, they have the absolute worst, most boring job on the planet. I have nothing to say, write or take a picture of that the NSA would be interested in. Unless they love Food Network too. 🙂


With that said, if running my messages through a filtering program will allow an organization to prevent another 9/11 attack, so be it. If it will allow a pedophile to be apprehended, before committing a horrible crime, I’m all for it. Sign me up.


I know this is a silly, abstract suggestion but, how about an “opt-in” option for people who don’t mind being watched? The organization would get a far better idea of who might be up to no good, based on who doesn’t “opt-in”. Or, they will discover very quickly that some of these people just aren’t willing to give up their Constitutional Rights.


Googles’ use of personal information to market products was their core business plan. People have now realized that there was a price to use Googles’ services, even if it wasn’t monetary. That saying, “Nothing in life is free”, comes to mind. They made no disguise that they were targeting you with personalized advertising. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence that the day after searching online for outdoor cushions, I was bombarded with advertisements for outdoor furniture and decorative items. Something I wonder is whether Google’s Incognito mode also keeps information private from Google.


So, to the question “Do you view your position from the short-term gain or long-term, unintended consequences perspective?, I have to say both. I see both sides and feel like we’re between a rock and a hard place. If I were presented with an option between my own privacy and saving a life, I would give up my privacy willingly. However, I wasn’t asked. I really don’t know how my personal information is being used. Are bored analysts using our lives like reality TV shows or soap operas? Stalking their exes? If it were simply a computer scanning for suspicious behavior, that would be one thing. But there are human beings that are reading our private messages, listening to our conversations, looking at our pictures. That is disturbing.



Atomic bombing at Nagasaki, Japan

It also saddens me that, somehow, anything can be turned into a weapon. Unfortunately, once invented, it can’t be taken back. It reminds me of the Manhattan Project and the thoughts that the scientists had running through their heads after the initial deployment of the atomic bomb at a testing sight in New Mexico. These men immediately realized what they had done, inventing this bomb. But, the damage was done.


Technology, in the right hands, has been wonderful for education and sharing knowledge. Unfortunately, in the wrong hands, in causes destruction. I think this is true for any discovery though, whether that be computer science, physics, medicine, etc. Discovering the secrets of a virus, initially to create an antidote and save life, becomes a quest for creating a super virus that destroys our opponent. We, as intelligent beings, are constantly battling to find that balance, where the discovery remains pure and unadulterated by wants and agendas. But, the wants and agendas pay for the research.



6 responses »

  1. I really like your “opt-in” suggestion. Likewise I have nothing to hide but love my privacy. I wouldn’t mind being watched or listened too especially to prevent another 9/11 attack. I would say Albert Einstein was a very intelligent visionary with great intuition and insight. Great post.

  2. First, I like the opening quote you used from Albert Einstein. Second, I agree with you on many levels. I am still on the fence about this subject and you make good arguments in your post. Cyber weapons are a touchy subject and a good topic for debate. Nice post

  3. I wonder, just as you, if the Incognito mode actually works? I’m going to go on a limb and say that it doesn’t and that it just shoots up a red flag to whoever is out there watching us. The Google advertisements really bother me for some reason. I never understood why I was getting pop ups about things I had viewed or hotel rooms I had searched for on certain nights. I just find it creepy and unsettling that actual energy is put into monitoring my activity and then that activity sent off to the government. There have been too many crimes recently for me to believe that their surveillance program is actually working. I just wonder what they are doing with it all…

  4. First, I just want to say that I love your background! It’s so cute! I absolutely agree with your statement about technology being wonderful for education and sharing knowledge. The scary thing about it is that not everyone wants to use technology for good. This week’s material made me nervous about using my phone or sending emails but like you said, anyone spying on me would be very bored.

  5. First of all, holy CRAP. Your layout looks amazing. Fantastic job, seriously.

    Also, while I really like the idea of an “opt-in” program, I’m not sure how much good it would do. The people who don’t “opt-in” would most likely still be getting spied on against their explicit consent, and the people who DO opt-in would be getting spied on either way. I feel like its a great start to an idea that could be fantastic, I just think that more work needs to be done on the legality of surveillance programs before it could ever work well.

  6. Thanks to everyone that commented on my layout and design. I wish I could take credit for creativity and originality but….it was an option here on WordPress. I just had to dig around a little 🙂

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