An argument for the price of secrecy in the freedom of information debate

Limiting civil liberties and the right to privacy in the name of defending a liberal democratic nation is the ultimate hypocrisy. Modern, western liberal democracies exist to protect the rights of their citizens. The great John Lockespiritual father of the modern liberal democracies, believed that all people were born with god-given rights, one of which was liberty, and that the purpose of governments was to protect those rights.

An argument for the price of secrecy in the freedom of information debate

Limiting civil liberties and the right to privacy in the name of defending a liberal democratic nation is the ultimate hypocrisy.

An argument for the price of secrecy in the freedom of information debate

Modern, western liberal democracies exist to protect the rights of their citizens. The great John Lockespiritual father of the modern liberal democracies, believed that all people were born with god-given rights, one of which was liberty, and that the purpose of governments was to protect those rights.

If that same government is attacking our liberty and our privacy under the guise of keeping us secure, than it is betraying its very essence. Yes, governments are beholden to protect the natural rights of their citizens, but that is just one of many tasks of governing.

Without the social contract we are nothing but intelligent animals, writhing in the state of nature. When we sign the social contract figuratively that is we give up some of our rights to the government in order that we may be protected, and sometimes that government might have to infringe on our other rights in order to protect us.

Overvaluing the Risk of Terrorism In many cases, invasive surveillance laws are passed amidst panic, often right after a terrorist attack when citizens are scared and desperate for anything to make them feel secure again.

It was in such a climate, just after the September 11 terrorist attacks, that the US government passed the Patriot Act. In these desperate times people rally together, but they are also easily manipulated.

Data sharing and a climate of fear

It is these moments of crisis that prudence is more important than ever. The hysteria caused by terrorist attacks is largely caused by a cognitive bias rampant in the human race known as the availability heuristic. The availability heuristic causes people to consider something more dangerous or more imminent when they can easily bring it to mind and imagine it.

It is almost always because of these types of exaggerated risks that our governments take away our freedoms in exchange for security. First of all, the reason that there have been so few terrorist attacks in the last ten years is the direct result of measures such as the Patriot Act.

It is true that people tend to over-value the likelihood of a terrorist attack, but I for one would like to keep it that way so that we remain vigilant. National security is a constant project.

It is more than preventing individual terrorist attacks, it is knowing what our enemies are doing at all times. Why Not Use Legal Channels?

the debate over secrecy versus security had been argued for decades. After the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was signed into effect in , it is easy to tell why citizens immediately. Jun 09,  · Government secrecy in fact is ubiquitous in a range of uncontroversial settings. To do its job and protect the public, the government must promise secrecy to a vast range of people — taxpayers, inventors, whistle-blowers, informers, hospital patients, foreign diplomats, entrepreneurs, contractors, data suppliers and many others. A fresh round of climate science emails were hacked and released to the public last week. With the debate over secrecy in science back in the headlines, science writer Fred Pearce makes the argument .

These legal channels exist for a reason, so why should our governments bend the law and spy on us? Terrorism is a much different beast than drug trafficking. Our governments generally deter crime through punishment.

By punishing perpetrators of a given crime would-be criminals are discouraged from committing that crime in the future. However, in the case of terrorists, the attacks are often suicide attacks.

The perpetrators of terrorist attacks are so ideologically driven that their personal well-being is of no importance to them.

An argument for the price of secrecy in the freedom of information debate

These kind of actions can not be deterred, they can only be prevented. In addition, terrorist attacks are designed to cause as much damage as possible with as few resources as possible.

The aim is destruction and terror. Terrorism is a different beast and thus requires more advanced weapons to be slain.

Privacy and Freedom Is More Important Than Security - DebateWise

When it comes to anti-terrorism policy, we are extremely susceptible to security theatre because of the availability heuristic discussed above. Because terrorism is an over-blown threat and politicians know it, they can dazzle us with security theatre and gain our admiration even if nothing effective is really being done.

Meanwhile this wasted money could have been spent on something useful like healthcare or education. The violation of our basic human rights has become a grotesque kind of security theatre in itself.

Secrecy in science - an argument for open access - Index on Censorship Index on Censorship

Security theatre is a real problem and one that the security community is aware of and wants to eradicate. Look at the dubious effectiveness of standardized testing in education for example.The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government.

It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. I think he's right. But the argument isn't complete without conceding something most speech advocates don't like to admit: Free speech does do harm.

It does a lot of harm.

The crown jewels and data libertarians

A fresh round of climate science emails were hacked and released to the public last week. With the debate over secrecy in science back in the headlines, science writer Fred Pearce makes the argument . Secrecy is just as essential to democratic governance as transparency is—neither is conclusively more important than the other—and the risk of abuse is the price we pay for the benefits of.

As such, I consider security marginally more important than freedom, /especially/ since when this argument is brought up, it usually involves a small amount of freedom and a great deal of security.

Obviously one must analyze the trade-off closely. We Should Restrict Freedom of Speech Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments. You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.

Debate: School uniform - Debatepedia