There is a longstanding debate between government and private ambassadors, concerning attitudes to privacy and the availability of information. My opinion on the matter is quite particular and centres around the utility of the information.
For serious matters such as terrorism, clearly the need to view that information supersedes any whiny defences of a private life, but there is always the danger of this power being abused – and it is exceptionally hard to mitigate this risk due to the highly sensitive, specialised and secret nature of private data usage.
After Germany’s fall out with the America over the NSA scandal, and the quashing of supporters of Bradley Manning, the status of the privacy debate is something of an unfinished symphony, with, I am sorry to report, an intense hate-filled rejection of what is perceived as something of an underhanded betrayal of the people by their governments.
However, for me the problem is a not going to be solved by disparate attempts to quell the dissemination of classified information. What was a highly contentious war may have been overlooked in the prosecution of Bradley Manning under the directions of laws targeted to emphasize the betrayal that was the revelation of information to America’s ‘enemies’.
For me the media attention has overlooked a key facet in the delivery of justice – that is the strategy of invasion chosen by America (and its allies) in the confrontation of militia.
I am not defending the militia in Iraq, but socio-economic development has clear geo-political disparities and whereas some may take interest in the development of these economies, little onus was placed on the import of key commodities, such as water and agricultural infrastructure prior to the invasions.
Thus, although a firm emphasis is levelled currently about the desire to instil security into the countries in questions, I maintain that the first step would be to educate the public about specific details, private information about the standard of life in these countries and what it would need to overcome any obstacles to comfortable progression.
It stands to reason that, if the American public had at first tried to explain and tackle any droughts and famines along vital trade routes for the Iraqi and Afghani populace, then, had a military challenge to these not-for-profit workers been faced, the subsequent deployment of military personnel by Allied forces would have made more sense.
Excepting the rare journalistic bravery of Vice, we do not encounter an awful lot of reasoned debate with Taliban or Al-Shabab forces and we may be blighted with disturbing news reports of tragically consequential offensives by these ‘enemy’ operatives, the facts remain that our directly confrontational actions may exacerbate an already fragile situation, turning more people against us and not facing the serious structural issues that impact the level of instability in these countries.
Bio and synopsis: Sammy wrote this essay in response to the growing shroud of secrecy in government surveillance. He currently lives in Manchester, England where he is working on a few projects of his own.