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[AK] Why Privacy is Worth it to Defend By Rifan

This note will discuss and debunk several arguments made in favor of limiting people’s privacy for the sake of security. Written by Rifan Ibnu Rahman.

Through this article I am going to show you objective and logical reasoning why we should completely challenge that myth and start disbelieving any bullshit preached by big data maniac such as US, and unfortunately our government.

In order to challenge it, I need to build two important foundations; first is why privacy is important in modern life, and second is whether policy that infringes privacy is actually necessary and effective to “protect” us from “threat”.

We all have to concede that we live in fucked up world, where competition is tough, and when every one of us always think about how to survive than how to socially contribute to others. This crazy competition forces us to be someone else, and often what we do in real life do not represent what we really are. Let me show you simple scenario. It would be important for gay and feminine men to pretend being straight, conforming to masculinity and start to earn money, build muscle, and use heavy voice. It is also equally important for women to succumb to patriarchy, take sexism as consequence of life because otherwise women won’t be able to get proper life, career, and acceptance from sexist men. Furthermore, it is utterly crucial for socialist youth to sacrifice his/her life only to work for big corporation, let this companies exploit poor labor only to survive and get some money to buy foods and shelter.

In this fucked up life, we have no option but to hide our real expression, and we often express our “real personality” in other avenues, particularly social media/virtual world. LGBT community gain support through website and Gay forum, geeks go to probably 4chan to stay geek, and women secretly share their feeling to fellow friends about how abusive their husbands are. In short, virtual expression is now turning into our real identity and obviously our real identity are very important to be freely expressed without any fear of being infringed by 3rd party.

It is very uncomfortable for some women to share their experience about masturbation, worrying the fact that the white male officials will read these stories and jerk off. It is frightening for gay athlete to share his story via Facebook, if he realizes that NSA might read and discover it. Infringing privacy is a flagrant violation to basic right, which, in my humble opinion is even closely similar to rape. Government takes away our core identity without consent under the name of “homeland security” that is usually assumptive and broadly defined. No matter how much important national security is, it is always wrong to sacrifice basic right. We are society that carries high morale, and we all know that it is disgusting for us to (sorry to say) rape Osama’s kid in order to make him surrender and leave Al-Qaeda.

That is in general my view about the first foundation. And so far we receive few challenges about this matter because most of hawkish supporters of Prism cannot have reasonably logical response to it. Hence, let us move to another foundation that to be frank, repeatedly used by many homeland security preacher. INFRINGING PRIVACY IS EFFECTIVE AND NECESSARY!

In order to challenge this view, I will try to deliver 3 sub points.

1. Firstly, this program is mostly abused and have huge tendency to corrupt. Having ability to infringe privacy is a huge power to have. Why? Because when you can infringe privacy means that you do not need any consent as requirement to this action. Often times, under the name of “immediate action”, government directly wiretaps without any court order. Not only unlawful, but this has a huge tendency to be abused by government itself. We cannot always assume that government is benevolent and trust me; it is statistically proven that the bigger power you have, the more corrupt you will be. US is proven multiple times abusing Prism by directly committing espionage to numerous countries such as China, EU, and even 3rd world states. South Korean ex leader used similar program to wiretap the owner of Samsung for personal purpose, and Tony Abbott Shamelessly wiretapped Indonesian Government for stupid reason.

Usually, many people and ironically debaters would say “That is too technical let us rely on law enforcement”. I am sorry, but I need to say this as “Bull Crap”. Most of the governments that we are talking above are essentially superpower countries that are not afraid with sanction, and they have too much power to bully us back if we resist against them. The problem is getting worse by the fact that access to affordable lawyer is very hard that deters us to sue government for misconduct.

2. Even if government is too good to be true, this program is unfortunately not necessary. Why? Government can easily use any slightest accusation as threat. Public policy is made based on likelihood and this is what most people dismiss. Just because I can crash president’s car when I drive that will possibly ruin the whole nation, it does not mean government can ban all of us to drive. This is 0.000001% chance, and we have to be realistic that it is unlikely to happen.

The same logic applies to Prism project. Let us question ourselves how can a physically disadvantaged women can be potential threat for the nation, and how can a young drag queer can be potentially an enemy of the state. This assumption is too wild and very bad to make. That is why we need to have preliminary report and investigation, followed by court order that has assessed objectively that someone is having reasonable suspicion. Let me show you simple scenario. But Their is known as its view to demonize west and support caliphate. Yet, they are personally not conforming to terrorism. With this program, it is no surprise that government can covertly infringe their privacy because any view that despises west is equal to bombing and terrorism.

3. Lastly, we all know that the program is not efficient. We deal with big data, where it records millions of information and conversation every millisecond. Too much data will never help us to properly respond to threat. We deal with too much probability that might be hard to decipher. It is now clear evidence that US government has increasingly wrongful detention especially after prism is started. More people are accused by them as threat, although it’s strongly proven otherwise. In return, we use huge number of budget that is very important to spend especially for food stamp and free education.

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