Post 9/11 : Security vs Privacy

The idea of privacy for American citizens is pretty much a delusion. Whether you are taking the dog for a walk down the block in your neighborhood, going to work in an office building, or shopping at local stores, you are almost always being watched or tracked one way or another. The surveillance and invasion of privacy does not stop when you reach the comfort of your own home as your “smart” devices listen to your conversations, track your movement, monitor your purchases, and share your personal messages with retailers as well as Intelligence agencies.

American society wasn’t always as security conscious as it is today but two major factors altered overall security in our society. The first incident that majorly affected the expansion of the U.S.’s security was the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The United States could never be the same after the attacks on September 11th, 2001. The attacks instilled a sense of fear in Americans that influenced the need and demand for change in the culture of security in the United States. The advancement of technology in the past two decades is the second factor that has contributed to increased overall surveillance upon the average American. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 and the advancement of technology since the 2000s, go hand in hand in the intensification of national security practices. September 11th, 2001 created the desire for increasing and developing security and intelligence agencies, while newer more advanced technology allowed for the opportunity to appease people’s need to feel safe again.

Those older than Generation Z remember what life was like before the drastic transition American society has faced, however much of GenZ are not aware of how different life is now than before, this paper is to help educate those who aren’t aware of how 9/11 and technology influenced such drastic change in our society in the US and all over the world. This paper will explain the changes in the security practices and policies by observing development in security departments as well as advancements in technology and technology agencies and how these evolutions have affected American citizens.

One example of how security has changed is the complete reorganization of intelligence agencies. The government undertook the enormous process of reorganizing to better operate and use their resources to prevent terrorism. The FBI evolved to focus more heavily on intelligence than law enforcement. The reorganization also included larger budgets for security agencies. “Budgets for defense-related agencies also rose. The Coast Guard, TSA and Border Patrol budgets have all more than doubled since 2001″ (Villemez). Reorganizing helped to have more structure in the process of how intelligence agencies gather and share information. These changes, though not perfect, are an improvement for coordination between agencies and how they handle and share information now compared to before 9/11.

The development of security agencies was one endeavor the U.S. government undertook in the hope of better securing the U.S., minimizing the possibility of another such attack taking place, and encouraging a feeling of safety after the attacks instilled such fear among American citizens. Technology advances and security increases post 9/11 certainly have impacted our society in many positive ways, but at what cost to privacy, social interaction and pursuit of truth and connection? That remains to be seen because it is immeasurable and unknowable at this time. But what is known, is that the United States continues to face security and privacy challenges despite all of the technological development and interagency sharing of information.

Homeland Security comes at a cost CARTOON: Clay Bennett / The Christian Science Monitor


One thought on “Post 9/11 : Security vs Privacy”

  1. I like your wrap up at the end, mentioning “despite all of the technological development and interagency sharing of information”, America still struggles with safety. It is a strong argument


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