The Differences Between Freedom And Security: How Not To Step Over The Line

Gregory V. Chapman

April 26, 2020

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Freedom and security have been two much discussed issues for many decades now. People have asked themselves numerous times whether or not the state should infringe on a person's liberties by valuing security. At the same time, the question of companies and corporations using personal data has arisen.

Should we prioritize security over freedom or vice versa? Obviously, there are many advantages to both positions, so we must keep in mind these points when discussing such matters. Let's look at the differences between freedom and security and how not to step over the line.

The Cost of Freedom and Security

The greater discussion of freedom and security usually follows various important events, both negative and positive. World leaders turn to these subjects after national tragedies elevate the importance of the issue. For a variety of reasons, their stance usually leans heavily toward security being more important than freedom.

They argue that it is logical to value one over the other and we should use our economic and military capabilities in order to ensure that we achieve the highest level of security. Such logic is based on the belief that regular citizens are constantly under a threat (sometimes unknown) and the state must protect people from this threat by creating barriers between the two.

Security is now an integral part of our society, but at what cost? Our freedom is limited and our privacy is often ignored. Real freedom is when individuals can pursue their motivations without the interference of any external authority. If the state prevents us from acting the way we want (within the limits of reason, of course), is security worth it?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Security

The main reason why we need security is to feel safe. Governments in different countries promise to protect their citizens from any potential threats. The question is how governments choose to protect their citizens, by what means, and at how high a cost.

The importance of security cannot be minimized. With so many terrorist attacks happening, the question of safety has never been more urgent. People want to see their governments taking protective action, and the greater the number of security checks there are, the lower are the chances of a terrorist attack. For example, all of the procedures at the airport are done so that nobody can get weapons on board a plane. The same logic works for public events such as festivals, ceremonies, and so on. The organizers want to be sure that all the visitors are regular citizens without criminal intentions.

Of course, sometimes such measures can be taken to an extreme and start crossing the line. For example, there have been rumors of secret government agencies checking your private conversations on messenger apps and social media platforms. Obviously, many people get outraged about this.

The biggest downside of improving security is that it limits freedom and invades privacy, and nobody likes that. People want to feel safe but can start feeling even more exposed if they think their personal information and chats are being checked and monitored. And unfortunately, such measures are not always justified. Most non-terrorists feel that a secret agency going through their direct messages will not help them detect a potential threat. This makes the measure seem pointless and irritating.

A good example is when you are forced to throw away your manicure scissors at the airport. You more than likely won't harm anyone, but those are the rules and you will have to say goodbye to your favorite pair of scissors simply because you forgot to leave them in your suitcase and put them in your bag instead.

Big Data Usage

Big data usage is more related to freedom and security than you think, as it is becoming more and more common for big corporations to use personal data for their own needs, with no regard for the individual's privacy.

This problem has spread so wide that the data may even be collected in a different language and still be used. If a company collects personal data from its customers but some of it is in Spanish, they use a translation service like The Word Point to convert the data into English and allow computers to analyze it effectively.

From one point of view, big data usage may not seem like an important issue because it helps companies provide customers with the best possible experience. Businesses understand the mood, behavior, interests, and needs of their audiences. However, there is also the flip side.

People don't always want to share certain things about themselves or don't give their consent for using what they did share. Sometimes your personal information can be used in ways you would never have imagined, like the recent scandal in which Facebook sold user data to an analytics company without asking its customers about it.

There should be a line between what is and isn't permitted when it comes to using personal data. Companies, like the state, need to be limited in what they are allowed to do with our personal information.

Effectiveness of Security

Of course, sometimes limiting our freedom does not lead to better security. Many terrorist attacks still happen despite all the measures that have been undertaken. Why? Because nothing can ever be enough to eliminate the threat entirely. The issue is where the line is drawn.

We have to look for better solutions that will be more effective while allowing us to maintain our basic human rights and exercise our freedom. If we can find them, both governments and regular citizens could be satisfied as a result.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, freedom needs to be valued more than security, as the latter is usually a temporary phenomenon. Increasing security measures may lead to basic human rights being restricted too much as well as the overall development of a state of being hindered. Freedom is, just like security seems to be becoming now, an integral part of our society and we must not forget about its importance.

Gregory Chapman is passionate about researching new technologies in both mobile, web and WordPress. Also, he works on Best Writers Online the best writing services reviews. Chapman is in love with stories and facts, so he always tries to get the best of both worlds.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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