Individual rights and security have forever been the greatest concerns of any state ruled by a constitution: such that the people shall be spared from tyranny or oppression, and such that people do not live in fear of the majority, or the government. It saddens me that it has become  so difficult to maintain privacy in a technological age, especially when we have so many values that come into conflict.

Maintaining privacy in communication technology is now being constantly discussed, thanks to several events, one of the most memorable of which was Edward Snowden’s leaking of information from the NSA. Snowden revealed that the NSA was collecting “metadata” on the American people, on foreign governments, and on citizens of other nations by spying on the e-mails, telephone calls, and text messages of all of those parties.

This, of course, caused outrage throughout the world. It is tyranny—but why? The NSA collected the information in the name of national security. Isn’t this important to the American people, and all other people in the world?

Yet, I still think this type of spying is a problem. First, it is a violation of the sovereignty of other nations and their peoples, and their complaints are fair. Second, it was hidden from the American people. Who is our enemy? If a government must hide from the people, is it the enemy of the people? This is the real injustice of the NSA. The people should have a choice. Do they want to give up some individual freedoms for the protection of their community? Any intrusions should be known and limited by the people.

The injustice of the NSA did not warrant the response that Snowden gave. The leaks were simply irresponsible. Although he revealed tyrannies against the people, he also placed them in grave danger.

The FBI’s recent declarations about Hillary Clinton are similarly irresponsible. Clinton is innocent until proven guilty. However, by the FBI directly declaring their intention—an unusual act—makes her seem slightly more suspect and is bound to tarnish her presidential campaign shortly before the election.

Although such an inquiry should be public knowledge, the way it was presented to the public was blunt and unsavory. Accusing a person of a crime affects their image, regardless of their culpability. It is hard to determine if the FBI was really being apolitical in this situation.

And what of those famous few, whose privacy we violate so frequently? Are they not entitled to the same rights as us? Our obsession with famous people’s’ lives has always irritated me, and that extends even to Kim Kardashian, Prince Harry, and Donald Trump.

There’s an expectation that Trump should release his tax records, as all candidates have for the past few decades. But why? Would any other person be required—through coercion, or public shame, as he is—to release such private information, simply because others have?

What precedent does this set for our politicians? Should we ask if Trump voted Republican in order for him to be the Republican candidate? That would be illegal. Why isn’t it also illegal to demand other private information? When the people become a horde, we must protect the individual, lest the people extend their demands to anyone they feel is worthy of their arbitration.

A constitutional government limits the will of the majority to protect the minority. We may become too lax, insofar as the majority demands the exposure and crucifixion of whomever they wish. It all comes down to how much we value the individual: how much do you value your own rights? We must protect the individual—from government agencies like the NSA, and from ourselves. It is an injustice and a corruption of democracy if we do anything less.



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