Why Do We Have To Choose Between Privacy Or Security?

created image of guy looking in a window with POLICE on shirt
If you aren’t doing anything wrong then this should not be a problem, right?

The media coverage over what National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden did, by publicly revealing the large surveillance program conducted by the NSA, included ridiculously breathless stories about his whereabouts, if the guy is a traitor (he’s not), and if Glenn Greenwald should be jailed for doing his job of reporting the story. What still isn’t being discussed is the reasons and methods behind the program Snowden exposed and why there isn’t much discussion about the accountability of the program. We have been given a false choice between privacy or security.

Bob Sullivan, on the NBC News website wrote a good essay about the problem of having the false choice of privacy or security:

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Dear Media: I Don’t Care Where Edward Snowden Is

photo of Edward Snowden
I don’t give a shit where Edward Snowden is

One of the big reasons I don’t trust ‘The Media’ nor like them much is their complicity in supporting the one percenters. Corporate control of news media gives us press releases passed off as facts and political talking points going unchallenged as long as they support the corporations. We see the same behavior in the coverage of whistle blower Edward Snowden, where ‘The Media’ is more concerned in his location than in the facts he disclosed about the domestic surveillance program by the NSA. Hey media, I don’t give a shit where the guy is – when are you going to talk about the spying he uncovered?

This past Sunday, corporate tool David Gregory said some stupid shit as David Sirota points out:

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Yay Congressional Bipartisanship! To Subvert The 4th Amendment! Yay??

Logo for the National Security Agency

There are actually times when Democrats and Republicans in Congress set aside their partisanship and work together. One is naming post offices and the other allowing the government to subvert our 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. In defending the NSA collecting phone numbers telecom members used, Congress members couldn’t give any specific examples that such intelligence collection actually stopped any specific attack and just said not to worry about it. When Congress tells us not to worry then we should worry especially when our civil rights are involved.

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TSA outrage misplaced

The big buzz this weekend is the outrage about the new pat downs and scanners used by the TSA at our airports. The right wing have their answer which is racist on its face and other complaints are misplaced.

The right wing don’t believe all people should be checked – they argue only nasty brown men need to be stopped. They also carry water for the airlines who hate strong security because it’s bad for business.

Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney U.S. Air Force (Retired) thinks that we should strip search all 18-28 year old Muslim males at the airport.
What would happen is that anyone who’s the slightest bit swarthy, black or middle eastern looking — be they Italians, Spanish, Jews, non-Muslim Arabs, North Africans, or blacks — will be summarily detained and strip searched at airports. And for how long does this continue? When does it end? Who will be wrongfully detained? But rewind a second here. The Underpants Bomber was an average-looking black man. McInerney is basically suggesting that all blacks in that age range be strip searched. All of them. 

McInerney Wants to Strip Search Muslims (Blacks)

But as travelers grow more frustrated with heightened airport security, it appears Republicans are opening a new front on the privatization crusade.

A Republican lawmaker, who is faulting big government spending, is suggesting that airports dump the Transportation Security Administration altogether, and opt instead to privatize security.

And some airports, fed up with poor service in a climate where travelers are outraged about the prospect of full-body scanners, are listening.

The consideration comes after Florida Republican Rep. John Mica — a longtime critic of the TSA — wrote letters to the country’s 100 busiest airports earlier this month asking them to switch to private security.

Mica is poised to become chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, so he’ll be in a position to advance this issue.


This weekend we had stories about a cancer survivor having to take out and show a prosthetic breast and a small child having to take off his shirt while a TSA agent patted him down.

If the pat downs and scans were done outside of airports – such as to access buildings or neighborhoods then I would agree they were unreasonable searches but in an airport getting ready to board a plane – all of us are potential terrorists so the searches are not unreasonable.

The body scans are not equal to porn unless you get freaky with pictures of white blobs.

Racial profiling just doesn’t work. What we need to do is profile based on behavior. Israelis talk to everyone entering their airport and detain those who meet certain requirements for further scrutiny.

The TSA pat downs and scans may not catch everyone but flying is not a civil right.

To the issue of more security being bad for business – terrorism is also bad for business and if your airline or airport is a known terrorist target then people will avoid you if your security is lacking like it was back on September 10, 2001 when minimum wage low skill workers were responsible for airport security.