Can someone please clear up the privacy vs. security debate?

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Alex50
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#1
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I'm on board with the pro-security side of the coin; if the security agencies of the UK have limited or no power to spy on individuals then the likelihood of a major terrorist or criminal act will increase.

I just don't understand why the pro-privacy side is so popular? I don't do anything wrong, therefore I don't see any need to keep my life private from someone who is intruding purely for security purposes and is not leaking my information.

It seems obvious to me that we should prioritise the security of our selves, our families and our friends over privacy for, well, what seems to be the sake of privacy.

With all that said, there are so many people who are passionate about their cause against spying. Could someone please give me the pro-privacy side of the argument? Maybe I'll even change my mind.

DISCLAIMER: I don't have a strong opinion about this, I'm just looking at it rationally.
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tazarooni89
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I suppose one argument is this: If the security agencies of the UK have the ability to spy on our communications (e.g. by prohibiting certain types of encryption) then it means that potentially, anyone else would also have the ability to do so as well.
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GonvilleBromhead
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(Original post by Alex50)
I'm on board with the pro-security side of the coin; if the security agencies of the UK have limited or no power to spy on individuals then the likelihood of a major terrorist or criminal act will increase.

I just don't understand why the pro-privacy side is so popular? I don't do anything wrong, therefore I don't see any need to keep my life private from someone who is intruding purely for security purposes and is not leaking my information.

It seems obvious to me that we should prioritise the security of our selves, our families and our friends over privacy for, well, what seems to be the sake of privacy.

With all that said, there are so many people who are passionate about their cause against spying. Could someone please give me the pro-privacy side of the argument? Maybe I'll even change my mind.

DISCLAIMER: I don't have a strong opinion about this, I'm just looking at it rationally.
I stand strongly on the pro-privacy side of the argument for multiple reasons. Firstly I will be pretentious and quote a famous person at you 'those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither'. Essentially, in giving up liberty one gives up security too. Look at the results of totalitarian states, the most intrusive and security focuses societies in existence. They abduct and murder dissenters, use forced labour, dehumanise and homogenise everything for no real reason other than to either gain personally or through some misguided attempts at loyalty or patriotism. Security does not breed true security, being a meaningless thing who is simply a puppet of the government is not an existence even worthy of being classed as personhood. I appreciate this is the far end of the scale but its to simply disavow the assertion security by minority control is true security.

First problem I have doesn't really concern the government at all. Any such amount of data will have to be stored on a computer system. No computer system cannot be hacked and as and when that occurs your most intimate private data and communications is out there for the world to see. Within hours it will permanently exist on the internet, copied and downloaded, maybe sold to conmen or any such unscrupulous figures, maybe used to bribe or control you. It might end up in the hands of businesses who will use it to manipulate you (this happens, look up the Facebook mood influencing experiment). As soon as such data hits the public sphere everything will be known about you by everyone and that is enormously dangerous. Would you really want the world knowing your home address, your telephone, your credit card details, whether you bank online, who you email and what you say, what you type into word or your calendar, what sites you frequent, everything you ever did or said online all traced back to you. These are all only potential scenarios, they may not occur at all but where the potential exists the risks must be assessed. In order to stop terror they need to build a picture as detailed as that so all that data will be held.

Even assuming the hack never happens, the people who work there might sell your date (legally or illegally) again evidenced (look up the reports where police officers were being paid to get info off the police computers for random people) or who can be blackmailed or coerced into giving it up. Potentially it may be sold to companies or the like. The fallibility of people make it a dangerous proposal, it opens up the potential for people with a grudge who have a connection (no pun intended) with this databank to literally easily ruin your life or for the government to use it to start legislating against whatsoever they choose (its only legal until the commons decide it isn't) or to have some sort of control over you. There is huge potential for wrong accusations and over-zealous policing, arrests made for nothing or something the person felt was innocuous and not a criminal act, it may diminish or even entirely extinguish free speech.

Finally it isn't a positive situation where the state can know everything about you, from an ethical standpoint its highly questionable and the state itself then has an enormous amount of power over every individual beyond that which protects their citizens. To them an uncomfortable fact (a brother in rehab, an alcoholic addiction, a fetish, a financial reality) will be leverage. To you its a life altering fact, it will change how people perceive you and treat you whether you believe them to be non-judgemental or otherwise. Just because its not illegal and therefore nothing to hide, doesn't mean it is something you'd be happy sharing with a stranger. To give it context look at Snowdon. All he did was reveal the extent to which data is monitored and he was on the run in fear of his life and considering nothing has been heard for a while most likely killed or so deeply concealed he lives every day in fear. All that to protect the secret of what they already know about you. Consider the potential ramifications if they knew everything. Governments do not and nor should they care about the individual. As such its crucial their powers are limited so they cannot destroy or control the individual, something they can do without even meaning to.
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Cowy97
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just remember, once a government starts doing this its hard to stop. if we ever get a radical gov (god forbid) they will already have access to spy on everyone and anyone who disagrees would not be safe
also it feels like you are being treated as a criminal because the gov can access whatever they like about my communications with no warrant or reason other than to prevent terrorism
and the fact they are even attempting to shut down or block access to coorporations like snapchat or whatsapp for not allowing them a backdoor into their encrypted messaging services feels like they are overstepping there boundaries
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KvasirVanir
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I'm strongly on the privacy side.

(Original post by Alex50)
if the security agencies of the UK have limited or no power to spy on individuals then the likelihood of a major terrorist or criminal act will increase.
Wrong. There is no evidence to back up what you are saying, mass-surveillance of the kind we're talking about hasn't stopped a single terror attack from happening.

(Original post by Alex50)
I don't do anything wrong, therefore I don't see any need to keep my life private from someone who is intruding purely for security purposes and is not leaking my information.
No you only think you don't do anything wrong. You aren't the one who ultimately decides what wrong is. To take a rather funny example, if the government make eating biscuits illegal, then eating biscuits will be wrong. Even though lots of us do it and we know for sure that there's nothing wrong about it, we don't decide what wrong is. And the people who do decide have said that it's wrong. I feel that I'm doing nothing wrong, so it would ultimately be a waste of the security services time for them to go through my life. I'm not ashamed to say that I actually go out of my way to obscure myself from the grid as much as possible. I use false names for almost everything, always pay cash, only use burner phones that can't be tied to my name, and use the same TAILS operating system Edward Snowdon did to hide himself online, and more. This is pretty much a necessity to stop the state from just delving into my private life whenever it feels like it.

You have a remarkable level of faith in the security services despite them doing things that should lose them all trust anyone has in them. We know that in the past MI5 has used the knowledge that some people are paedophiles to blackmail those people. If they're willing to do it to them they would be willing to do it to us to, using any of our secrets to get us to do what they want. And I'm sorry but that's not acceptable.
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MagicJigsaw
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Read 1984
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