Sunday, December 22, 2013

Have Privacy and Security Become Incompatible Goals?

By Namo Abdulla - for Rudaw



Washington, D.C. – What the U.S. government now knows about our lives is unprecedented.

In this age of globalized modern technology, we seem not to have the ability to prevent the U.S. National Security Agency (or NSA) from tapping into phone conversations, reading text messages and emails, and monitoring all manner of online activities.

Even the leaders of European countries, America’s best friends, have become subjected to the NSA’s spying activities.

Just one of the recently leaked internal documents by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden demonstrates that each day the U.S. government is gathering nearly five billion records on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world. …without the cellphone even needing to be turned on.

President Barack Obama has defended his government’s spying activities as being necessary for the security of its citizens and allies. But, he says in this Internet age “it’s important to understand that you can’t have 100 percent security and then have 100 percent privacy.”

But how much has individual privacy been invaded? In this increasingly interconnected world, have privacy and security become incompatible goals?

To debate this subject, Rudaw’s Namo Abdulla talks to:

- Ray McGovern, a retired CIA officer and an intelligence activist.

- James Kirchick, a reporter, foreign correspondent, columnist and fellow at the Foreign Policy Initiative, a conservative think tank based in Washington DC.

- Richard Weitz, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute.

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