Security vs. Civil Liberties

from the what-about-neither? dept

Part II of’s series on “e-terrorism” talks about how people are trying to balance security issues vs. our civil liberties. In the post-9/11 world, federal investigators have been requesting (and getting) much more info about people from various (private) databases. Many people feel that this is a violation of our civil liberties, while others don’t think it’s that big of a deal (when the argument comes down to terrrorists vs. the government, they’re more afraid of the terrorists). What the article doesn’t talk about is the possibility that all these fishing trips actually make us less secure – and do nothing to get at the root causes of why things are insecure in the first place. As many (such as Bruce Schneier) have pointed out, security and privacy don’t have to be mutually exclusive – and believing that they are often makes things even less secure. Adding more useless data to the haystack doesn’t make the needle any easier to find…

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Comments on “Security vs. Civil Liberties”

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1 Comment
xdroop (user link) says:

The paradox

This comment really belongs on the article regarding Mr. Schnider’s thinkings, but anyways.

It always occurred to me that the whole ‘security’ and ‘law-and-order’ problem was an endless paradox. You have laws because you can’t trust people to do the right thing. You have people enforcing the laws because people don’t always obey laws in the absence of enforcement. You have technology watching the people enforcing the laws because you can’t trust the people to not inappropriately use the authority that enforcement operations give them. And finally, you have people watching the technology because technology is rigid and generally does not allow for special cases (lost/stolen IDs, scratched cornias, etc). You end up right back where you started from because none of the components in the vicious circle is dependable — and thus the entire circle is vunerable.

Who watches the watchers? Interesting. Well — who, or what, watches them? And where does it end?

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