Privacy is Under Attack in the West. It Needs Defending.

By Addie Mae Villas | USA

Just like our unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, privacy is something that should never be infringed upon or sacrificed. U.S. Justice Louis Brandeis once called it “the right to be left alone.” but in this day of age, our right of confidentiality and seclusion from the government is under attack. With the infringement of this right happening more and more, we need to realize that contentment with this violation is very detrimental.

Let’s take a look at Edward Snowden’s leak of data that blatantly showed that our government was spying and collecting data illegally. This leak opened the eyes of people around the world and perpetrated the age of not trusting the government. Although this leak showed the injustice, lies, and corruption of the government, many American people, 64% according to U.S. News, hold an unfavorable opinion of Edward Snowden. This is supplemented by a poll from Pew Research which shows that 21% of people polled from the ages of 18-29 believed “Americans need to be willing to give up privacy and freedom in order to be safe from terrorism” and the percentage of people that believed that increased with age. Although 21% is not a lot of people who believe we should sacrifice privacy for “protection”, it still means that the thought of sacrificing privacy is still believed.The right to privacy is just like the right to free speech. We wouldn’t take away the right to free speech just because it could harm someone’s feelings or expose the truth. Just like we should never take away the right of privacy in hypothetical situations.

Currently, in Germany, privacy is being thrown out the window. Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière wants the German Security Agencies to be able to eavesdrop on homes, cars, and other technology. This is clearly a violation of human rights as privacy is listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in article 12. By allowing Germany to go through with this policy, it will only cause more governments to follow suit and have even more government overreach. The breach of privacy can also be seen with mattress company Casper and software company NaviStone which are able to gather information from users of their website. These instances only go to show that privacy is being degraded more and more than ever before. But, what makes it worse is that it often goes unnoticed and goes without a concern from the populous.

Privacy should never be infringed upon. Although there is no direct right in the U.S. Constitution to privacy, the fourth amendment provides a link to the privacy of our own property. Stated before, the U.N. has stated that the right of privacy is a human right. By standing by and allowing the major governmental overreach that is occurring every day, we are only allowing this problem to be expanded even more. We must protect this right just the same as we protect any other unwavering rights.