Security vs. Privacy?

In “CitizenFour,” Edward Snowden leaked multiple files from the government to emphasize the lack of privacy citizens all over the country obtain. Snowden believed everyone should know the information that the government has on them and was notably disturbed by the lack of privacy in the United States. As I watched the documentary, I continually thought “why?” Why did Snowden feel the need to leak this information. Why does it matter? Why is everyone freaking out?

As a government employee and future Army officer, I like the idea of the government erring on the side of national security rather than privacy rights. Every day there are people across the country that put their lives on the line for the safety of others. As a child, I watched my dad leave for work everyday to a job saving the lives of other, but who’s looking out for him. It is nice to know that the government is aiding in the safety of these people. Maybe the security appeals to me because I feel safer or maybe because I have nothing to hide, but ultimately, I’d rather the government invade my privacy for my own security.

According to CBS news, only 40% of people in the United States would agree with my stance on the government erring on the national security side. After Snowden leaked governmental data, 6 out of 10 people disapproved of the government collecting phone records of citizens of the United States. Although many believed it was wrong to collect phone records of “ordinary people,” how do we know people are ordinary? I know the saying that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but sometimes “ordinary people” are not so ordinary. In order to provide national security, the government must monitor every single citizen in the United States, not just the ones suspected of terrorism. Everyone wants to feel safe, but there will be a cost and they must evaluate what is more important to them: security or privacy. I choose security.