Is government ever justified in involving itself in the private lives and personal decisions of its citizens? Why of why not?

Topics: Mobile phone, Privacy, Surveillance Pages: 5 (1701 words) Published: January 4, 2014
Yes, the government is always justified when immersing itself in the lives of its citizens, as the benefits of this practice will always outweigh its consequences. This question had a very definite answer when great men like George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, etc. found our great nation of America: no. Back then, it was very obvious that government should not spy on its own citizens and make decisions for them. This was actually the philosophy that the nation was based off, the Americans were tired of the British government controlling their lives, so they broke free and found the United States of America. But in today’s technologically advancing information age, the question is severely complicated with inventions like the Global Positions System, the World Wide Web, computer chips, the cellular telephone, etc. Of course, there are laws to regulate surveillance on these devices, but the invention of new technologies is passing these laws. As complicated as the question gets, I believe that the government is justified to immerse itself into the private lives and decisions of its citizens for a multitude of reasons. First, government surveillance practices can save lives, put criminals behind bars, or even find missing people, which definitely warrants the need for cellular surveillance. Another example of this justification is that measures like pat downs, body scanners, luggage scanners, and security guards at airports may be inconvenient for the passengers seeking to get on the plane, but will greatly increase the preservation of live on commercial aircraft. The last example to support this argument is in Ender’s Game. Ender had finally realized that the administrators and staff at Battle School controlled everything in his life while he was there. This pushed him to be better than ever (as seen in later in the text) and eventually defeat the Buggers. All in all, the government should have access to citizens’ lives and decisions because it is completely justified and the benefits of this will far outweigh the consequences. Government surveillance of email and cellular devices has been a new form of surveillance that has just come into use within the last decade or so. Even though its uses and intents have been widely questioned and challenged, it has many benefits that most people don’t know about. An example of the benefits of cellular surveillance is that a student was actually kidnapped while trying to walk to school on November 16, 2011. But according to Patricia Smith (2012), “…the young woman was saved by her cell phone. Using software that tracks someone’s whereabouts by the GPS signal on their phone, police were able to intercept the truck [that had the student inside] on a remote country road…” (Page 16). This is just one of the many ways that cellular tracking can save lives and help others. Some people might say that the government will listen in on personal and intimate phone calls, thus violating their privacy. But honestly, even though the government might know what your favorite ice cream flavor is or when you are planning to propose to your girlfriend, I would think that the government doesn’t really care. They really should be focusing on subjects like where a person is going to dump a body or when someone is going to rob a bank. Unless it’s something that could incriminate you in court, the government is not going to care what you talk about with your friends over Facebook. Even if you are incriminated for something you said on Facebook that the government saw, it would still be your fault because you were the one stupid enough to say it on the internet. Cell phone tracking is a very beneficial technology that can save lives. Sure, the government might have your personal information, but they don’t really care about it until you’ve become incriminated or another instance has occurred where they would absolutely need the information. Cellular surveillance is a new technology...

Cited: Card, Orson Scott. Ender 's Game. New York: Tor, 1991. Print.
Smith, Patricia. "The 9/11 Dilemma: Freedom vs. Security." The 9/11 Dilemma. N.p., 5 Sept. 2011. Web. 26 Aug. 2012. .
Smith, Patricia. "Are You Being Tracked?" Tge New York Times Upfront. N.p., 3 Sept. 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2012.
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