An argument for the price of secrecy in the freedom of information debate

A retired mining geologist, trained mathematician and amateur climatologist, he has for the past eight years locked horns with the Climatic Research Unit CRU at the University of East Anglia, trying to gain access to their data on the history of global temperatures.

An argument for the price of secrecy in the freedom of information debate

Limiting civil liberties and the right to privacy in the name of defending a liberal democratic nation is the ultimate hypocrisy. Modern, western liberal democracies exist to protect the rights of their citizens. The great John Lockespiritual father of the modern liberal democracies, believed that all people were born with god-given rights, one of which was liberty, and that the purpose of governments was to protect those rights.

If that same government is attacking our liberty and our privacy under the guise of keeping us secure, than it is betraying its very essence. Yes, governments are beholden to protect the natural rights of their citizens, but that is just one of many tasks of governing.

Without the social contract we are nothing but intelligent animals, writhing in the state of nature. When we sign the social contract figuratively that is we give up some of our rights to the government in order that we may be protected, and sometimes that government might have to infringe on our other rights in order to protect us.

Overvaluing the Risk of Terrorism In many cases, invasive surveillance laws are passed amidst panic, often right after a terrorist attack when citizens are scared and desperate for anything to make them feel secure again.

It was in such a climate, just after the September 11 terrorist attacks, that the US government passed the Patriot Act. In these desperate times people rally together, but they are also easily manipulated. It is these moments of crisis that prudence is more important than ever. The hysteria caused by terrorist attacks is largely caused by a cognitive bias rampant in the human race known as the availability heuristic.

The availability heuristic causes people to consider something more dangerous or more imminent when they can easily bring it to mind and imagine it. It is almost always because of these types of exaggerated risks that our governments take away our freedoms in exchange for security.

Privacy and Freedom Is More Important Than Security - DebateWise

First of all, the reason that there have been so few terrorist attacks in the last ten years is the direct result of measures such as the Patriot Act. It is true that people tend to over-value the likelihood of a terrorist attack, but I for one would like to keep it that way so that we remain vigilant.

National security is a constant project. It is more than preventing individual terrorist attacks, it is knowing what our enemies are doing at all times. Why Not Use Legal Channels? These legal channels exist for a reason, so why should our governments bend the law and spy on us?

IFLA -- What is the effect of WikiLeaks for Freedom of Information?

Terrorism is a much different beast than drug trafficking. Our governments generally deter crime through punishment. By punishing perpetrators of a given crime would-be criminals are discouraged from committing that crime in the future.

An argument for the price of secrecy in the freedom of information debate

However, in the case of terrorists, the attacks are often suicide attacks.What is the effect of WikiLeaks for Freedom of Information? by Päivikki Karhula Introduction. If secrecy of administrative documents is used to cover government misbehavior, especially inhuman conditions and killing of people, there must be legal grounds to overcome formal borders of secrecy.

An argument for the price of secrecy in the freedom of information debate

Altogether, debate on WikiLeaks . the debate over secrecy versus security had been argued for decades. After the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was signed into effect in , it is easy to tell why citizens immediately. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government.

It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. I think he's right. But the argument isn't complete without conceding something most speech advocates don't like to admit: Free speech does do harm.

It does a lot of harm. This topic looks at a very large number of arguments about uniforms. Not all of these will apply in every country or school, so take care only to select the ones that are relevant for your debate. The proposition (affirmative or government) side here is arguing for uniforms to be scrapped, but the case could easily be reversed if your debate is.

Surveillance is the secret watching of suspects’ private activities. In the past this usually involved following people, or going through their trash. These days it is mostly electronic, with the police and intelligence agencies listening into private phone conversations or reading emails (wiretapping).

Secrecy in science - an argument for open access - Index on Censorship Index on Censorship