State security or human rights violation?


photograph taken from the internet as available in public domain

Mr. Snowden has brought up the dilemma of the notion of state security vs human rights violation quite strongly. This issue is nothing specific to one country, but probably applies to any major nation. It is true that the incident of 9/11 has changed the definition of security and fundamentally the definition of human trust. This is definitely very unfortunate, but again very true.

On one side the logic of national security lies very strong. Till the time a person is caught in crime, major or minor, that person is an ordinary citizen of a country. Hence, how on earth the intelligence of a country can actually detect any ill motives which can lead to mass destruction or killing of innocent civilians. Waking up after the horse has already bolted cannot be accepted by the citizens when it comes to safety of the people. The situation had become more challenging because of the power of the internet, the easy access of smart phones and the ease of communication between people, across localities, across cities, across countries… all in a real time mode.

On the other hand lies the sensitive topic of human rights violation, the infringement of unauthorized access of very personal communication. This brings in the sense of “big brother” is watching everyone over the shoulder. Hence comes in lot of frustration from common people when they feel suddenly betrayed by no other person, but from the government who is the guardian of all people. So the other view point will be the voice of common people asking the question “who gave you the right to monitor our personal conversations, without even asking me ?”

Probably the answer lies in the middle. In cases of national security, as the government is the guardian of the people, they probably should have the right to monitor things as they are doing so to maintain good amongst the people. Because in a family where you may have errant kids, the father actually monitors the activity of those kids, isn’t it ?

However, the main distrust comes because people do not believe that the governments actually monitor things just because of national security. Who guarantees that the government are actually telling the truth? Because in the recent past, wars have been triggered off based on pure lies or because of the intention of capturing important resources and exploiting the situations at a later date….

This trust deficit between ordinary citizens and the country governments is growing across the world and unless there is more transparency from the powers-to-be, these issues will be like thorns which will tend to grow and grow…. and the situation might turn explosive enough to trigger mass protests which the same powerful people will find tough to control.

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