Privacy and Security: How can research from political science, history, and psychology can help maintain security and privacy.

by JRajotte on April 14, 2015 - 12:47am

The article “MP Rathgeber wants tougher oversight of electronic spy agency” written by Ian MacLeod on Aprils 4th , 2015 and published On, reveals that the  CSE or the Communications Security establishment, which monitors the communication of Canadians and other international interests is only monitored by a few people, consisting of a judge, 11 researchers and a few more individuals. The article also critique the government for spying on Brazilian mining and energy ministry. The function of the CSE is to protect Canadian citizen, by spying on other government it clearly operates outside its mandate. The article also critiques the way information could be used to gather more information about individuals. For example authorities could deduct that according to the individual with which communication was establish, one could be discussing about a specific private subject that concerns only the family of the one concerned. The author concludes by conceding the need for such agencies for reasons of national security.

This article clearly highlights the main debate between privacy of individuals and security.

I have been writing about privacy and security along with governmental control of media and freedom of expression. A story that I have covered was how the Russian government was passing laws in order to limit criticism about the government, any views against the government was to be made illegal, one of Russia’s biggest social media website was to have some of its users content banned due to this. Another series of article I have written about was about how government worldwide including Canada , the EU and the united states where limiting freedom of expression on certain matter, for example in France after the Charlie Hebdo attack numerous people were arrested for stating non-governmental approved comments and other type of comments on social medias. A new law in Canada would also make it illegal for some religious views to be expressed as it would incite terrorist attack according to the government. Other articles that will inspire this research includes one where the way the Spy agencies are operating to mine data on individual is revealed, this article demonstrates that a clear breach of privacy is being committed by governments internationally. One key factor that all these articles have together is the limitation of freedom of expression and privacy in exchange for security.

This leads to the following question: how can freedom of expression and privacy be protected and maintain security?

This question can be approached by various social science disciplines, in this case the aforementioned question will be explored by the use of Political Science which is the study of the way a society functions and is lead. History is the study of the written past of humanity. Psychology is the study of the functioning of the human mind. All these areas will be explored in order to understand how to balance both security and freedoms. /the domain of Political Science will be used in order to understand the use of spying agencies have as a political power. It will also be used to establish how security laws are perceived by the public. The domain of history will be used in order to understand the way in which spying agency came to be and how they have been perceived historically. Psychology could also be used in this essay as to determine in order to help determine why is spying perceived positively or negatively.


I find this subject of freedom of expression and privacy quite interesting as it has become a topic that resulted in a vast amount of polarized opinions. Furthermore, the emergence of WikiLeaks and ex-officials such Edward Snowden have underlined not only the need to address the issue of privacy of the individual but also the ethics behind the concepts of privacy and freedom of expression. The acknowledgement of Charlie Hebdo is a stellar example of the conflict between freedom of expression and privacy because the event itself can be seen as a reason for the French Government to crackdown on privacy and legislate anti-privacy laws which would justify security activities the government indulges in. Also the event undermines freedom of expression as it questions whether the concept allows for the mockery, caricature and potentially the stigmatization of a religion such as Islam. Although you suggest that the subject of privacy and freedom of expression can be analyzed through the scopes of political science, history, and psychology, it can also be analyzed through the scope of ethics as it begs the question whether the legislations that limit freedom of expression and privacy are morally justified. The mentioned Canadian legislation that prohibits the expression of religious views can be seen morally unjustifiable as it violates the fundamental rights of an individual to express and practice freely their religion. On the other hand, it can be seen as morally justifiable as, from a utilitarian perspective, it can be viewed as doing more good than harm by diminishing the threat of a terrorist attack or uprising thus ensuring security of its citizens.