They know you.
by Vincent and Nick
The internet has your data. Everything you do in the internet leaves a trail of information behind. Who can access your data? And who should?
What is more important: Privacy or Security? There is a great conflict between the two. In our survey security was valued as more important. Most people would instinctively choose this option. However this conflict is more complex than one may think.
Privacy is about you keeping your personal information secret as long as you don’t want it to be public. This includes your thoughts and feelings as well as your memories and experiences. Of course you wouldn’t want everyone to know who you broke up with last summer. Or where you live, what you eat, when you were born, etc. Privacy gives you a feeling of safety and comfort.
But isn’t security supposed to make you feel safe?
Security ensures the protection of oneself in reality and in cyberspace. It is the only barrier that separates our society from turning into anarchy. The law protects your rights from being taken away by force. Your freedom won’t be limited by others freedom. Security allows you to live in safety and freedom.
So, shouldn’t they agree with each other?
While the concept of privacy focuses on holding information back, security is in need of this information. Knowledge about a threat is needed to deal with it. Privacy gets in the way of security. The internet has spread around the globe and is in need of new security measures. You can’t catch a thief that doesn’t need to enter your home to steal and sell your data with a policeman. If you want the government to deal with it, you need to give away your data. You give away your data to keep it from getting taken. The more the government knows about its citizens the more it can deal with the evil. This can include checking every communication to find terrorists hidden amongst the innocent. But about 99% of the people it checks will be innocent. The government will have breached your privacy – an innocent citizen’s privacy.
So, should we neglect security to focus on privacy?
To achieve absolute privacy the opposing force – security – will have to be removed completely. This would imply your every action to be unchecked by the government. Thus, there would be no control over the country’s citizens and the criminals. The result being anarchy.
But having no privacy to ensure security would be no solution either. If this were to be executed, we would live in circumstances similar to the dystopian novel “1984” by George Orwell. We wouldn’t be happy living in a society where freedom isn’t granted.
In our survey concerning the idea of CCTV in public spaces about 86% of all participants agreed to this idea. It would grant the government higher levels of security while maintaining a certain amount of privacy. The innocent citizens walking the street would have nothing to worry about while wanted criminals could easily be spotted. This way the internet can be used to aid law enforcement and transfer data throughout the country.
This example shows the need of a proper balance between the two concepts of society to ensure the well being of citizens as well as their happiness.
We agree to the idea of a higher level of security but we have to make sure to limit the restrain of our privacy. The internet is a place of interaction with large amounts of data and this balance is needed to make sure everyone can safely use it without unwanted theft of one’s data.