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National Security: The Issues of Privacy and Refutation Essay

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Updated: Nov 6th, 2021


First of all, it is necessary to point out that the national security level, which any average citizen requires is the level, which permits them to feel safe independently in the surrounding atmosphere. This level entails not only physical safety but also mental and legislative, as everyone should be granted the rights of privacy and the basic freedoms

National Security

Taking into account the issues of security from the point of view of the rights and freedoms, as well as the granting of physical security it should be stated that the USA has always used the Monroe Doctrine as the main principle of granting security to Americans. It is often regarded as the “big stick”, and the historical process and the development of the USA as the individual and independent state only increased the seriousness level of the means and measures. Finally, it included the integrated systems of establishing and ensuring diplomatic, military, and economic security. (Watson, 2005)

The contemporary concept of national security was introduced after World War II and was regarded as the guiding principle of foreign policy by the USA. Yamamoto (2005) emphasizes the following fact: “Since the breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, and with the rise of terrorism, national security has had to shift its focus dramatically. Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Security Sector Management (SSM) are needed in many nations for different reasons. Some are nations emerging from repressive regimes or recovering from civil wars. Others are developing nations with weak governments where national security sectors never existed or were never strong before. The United States saw its own security sector overhaul with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Nevertheless, despite the fact of the existence of danger, the systems of national security work in the regime of increased readiness. As for the personal rights in the context of the increased security, it is necessary to mention that the citizens were not required to give up their rights, however, some rights of privacy are often violated. It is known that the security structures check the personal mailing of the citizens, may achieve any access to their personal data, phone calls, and have the record of any phone talk. Security services in the airports perform extensive customs examinations, thus, violating the rights of free movements.

As for the matters of rights violation, Weiner (2006) emphasizes the following: “Tension often exists between the keeping the origin of the country (by preserving self-determination and independence) and the rights and freedoms of the citizens and visitors. Though national security measures are imposed to protect the community in general, such measures will necessarily tend to restrict the rights and freedoms of individuals.

The main distress is generally in the very notion of where the performance of national security regulations and ruling gears is not subject to perfect governance. Originally, there is a serious risk that “national security” may start serving as an excuse for suppressing inauspicious political and social views. Thus, it may be emphasized that the measures, which are claimed to be used for security purposes, and thus, grant the basic rights of the citizens may lead to the creation of the police state, violating the basic freedoms of the citizens


As for the issues of privacy, it has been already stated that the government and the security structures often resort to measures, which directly violate the rights for privacy. These violations do not entail the spread and issuing of confidential information, however, the personal life may be deeply interrupted. It is stated that the struggle of privacy vs. national security is a matter of frequent discussion.

Researchers often emphasize that privacy may be sacrificed on a voluntary basis, however, this sacrifice presupposes the attainment of some additional benefits and very often with particular dangers and losses, nevertheless this is a strategic view of human relationships. Thus, the government persuades the citizens, that the refusal form some privacy rights presupposes the increased security level, nevertheless, it causes too much discomfort, and originates the feeling of being chased.

Baker (2003) states the following: “Academics who are economists, evolutionary theorists, and research psychologists describe revealing privacy as a ‘voluntary sacrifice’, where sweepstakes or competitions are involved. In the business world, a person may give personal details (often for advertising purposes) in order to enter a gamble of winning a prize. The information which is voluntarily shared and is later stolen or misused can lead to identity theft

Thus, it should be stated that the extent, to which the citizens should sacrifice their rights and freedoms can not be clearly defined, as the security services define this extent by themselves.


To begin with the refutation of the stated above facts and considerations it is necessary to give the following statement first: the approaches towards the issues of privacy may be divided into two categories: free market and consumer protection. Originally, these approaches are used in the business sphere, nevertheless, the sphere of security resorts to modified approaches, however, these approaches are close to the initial: civil protection and security.

Using these approaches the government is regarded to be free to perform any actions up to visual monitoring of someone’s private apartment. It is necessary to agree with the governors that these measures are forced by the circumstances, as the international situation is not stable. The fact is that all the violations of privacy and the voluntary refusal from the basic rights help the federal powers in finding, locating, and preventing the sources of danger for the national security. It is claimed, that not everyone is subjected to these violations, nevertheless, if the federals have decided to interrupt someone’s personal life, this decision is essentially reasonable. It is not the whimsy of some particular head of national security or even the president of the USA.

It is presupposed with the rules and regulations of national security, and only those who are under suspect are monitored. Originally, this approach may be restricted by the lack of confirmations of the suspect, or lack of information about the links of the suspected person, thus, even those who really threaten national security may feel safe. Surely, it is the essential drawback of the national security system; nevertheless, average citizens should not be afraid of violation and interruption from the side of the security organizations.

As for the legislative issue of privacy, it is necessary to give the observations by Inderfurth (2004): “Concerning privacy laws of the United States, privacy is not guaranteed per se by the Constitution. In the United States, the right of freedom of speech granted in the First Amendment has limited the effects of lawsuits for breach of privacy. Privacy is regulated in the U.S. by the Privacy Act of 1974 and various state laws.”

Originally, the defense measures are claimed to defend the citizens from violations of any kind. Thus, most opponents of these measures emphasize that it sounds rather paradoxically: overhear in order to avoid and prevent overheating. Still, it is necessary to explain some moments: overhearing (monitoring) is performed only for those who are under suspicion, and by those, who have special permission for this, and who grant that the information will not be published, if there is no threat confirmed and the suspect was mistaken. (Lustgarten and Leigh, 2005)


In conclusion, it is necessary to mention that the issues of national security and personal rights as well as personal privacy are often touched upon in the discussions by followers and opponents of the increased safety measures. It is often claimed that there is a strong necessity to keep the federal forces at the increased readiness level, for they could prevent any dangerous act, aimed to interrupt the national security of the state and the lives and health of the citizens.

On the other hand, there is absolutely no necessity for these measures, as defending citizens from the external threat, federals are forced to violate their personal rights and freedoms by monitoring their lives, overhearing their phone calls, tracing their banking accounts, etc.


Baker, Nancy V. “National Security versus Civil Liberties.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 33.3 (2003): 547.

Inderfurth, Karl F., and Loch K. Johnson, eds. Fateful Decisions: Inside the National Security Council. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Irwin, Manley Rutherford. Competitive Freedom versus National Security Regulation. New York: Quorum Books, 1989.

Lustgarten, Laurence, and Ian Leigh. In from the Cold: National Security and Parliamentary Democracy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005.

Lytle, Tatum H. “A Soldier’s Blog: Balancing Service Members’ Personal Rights vs. National Security Interests.” Federal Communications Law Journal 59.3 (2007): 593.

Pozen, David E. “The Mosaic Theory, National Security and the Freedom of Information Act.” Yale Law Journal 115.3 (2005): 628.

Watson, Cynthia. U.S. National Security Policy Groups: Institutional Profiles. New York: Greenwood Press, 2003.

Watson, Robert P., Michael J. Devine, and Robert J. Wolz, eds. The National Security Legacy of Harry S. Truman. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2005.

Weiner, Lauren M. “Special” Delivery: Where Do National Security Letters Fit into the Fourth Amendment?.” Fordham Urban Law Journal 33.5 (2006): 1453.

Yamamoto, Eric K. “White (House) Lies: Why the Public Must Compel the Courts to Hold the President Accountable for National Security Abuses.” Law and Contemporary Problems 68.2 (2005): 285.

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IvyPanda. "National Security: The Issues of Privacy and Refutation." November 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/national-security-the-issues-of-privacy-and-refutation/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "National Security: The Issues of Privacy and Refutation." November 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/national-security-the-issues-of-privacy-and-refutation/.


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