Benjamin Franklin once said “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”, his belief was that the people willing to give up their freedom for security, are undeserving of their liberties and protection. If one cannot see the value in their freedoms, than they are ungrateful. If they will not put in a fight for their liberties they do not deserve safety. Franklin himself was a person who dedicated his life to earning and preserving rights and freedoms, to him nothing was more detrimental than a free person who has no idea what their freedom means. Franklin’s words demonstrate the value of freedom rather than security.
Benjamin Franklin portrayed the need to maintain personal liberties rather than mass protection. This is becoming an even more vital concept as technology and security is becoming ever more oppressive. Edward Snowden claimed his right to speak freely and released information on the US National Security Agency’s plan to tap into cellular data and encryption through mass carriers, like Verizon and AT&T. His actions were seen as a criminal act to expose the United State’s tactics to all it’s terrorists and enemies. Snowden fled to Russia to avoid a possible 30 years in prison. He told CBS reporters "so far they've said they won't torture me, which is a start, I think. But we haven't gotten much further than that” (cbsnews.com). Snowden was pleasantly surprised he wouldn’t be tortured for further information on the leaking scandal, even though he wouldn’t escape unscaffed. The very fact that torture would cross Snowden’s mind is terrifying. He was a citizen when this occurred, it makes the government’s power seem quite omnipotent. The government might generalize the usage of telephone data as means of protection against terrorism, but the line between innocent citizen’s data collection and possible criminal intentions is very thin. If the punishment is so severe for an occasion like this, it seems there’s something the government is brushing under the rug. Citizens are losing their personal liberties in the shadow of security. Snowden’s case encaptures the fight for liberty, and the consequences of security.
One has to also look at the possible dangers associated with Snowden’s situation. Once he released the government’s scheme of analyzing and sifting through cell data, terrorists would have altered their plans, or even used it as leverage. By removing communication through carriers, the government could lose track of their actions, or the terrorist could use the same strategy to record and utilize data pertaining to large amounts of people. John Brennan from the CIA claims, "He has hurt this country and has helped our enemies" (express.co.uk). His statement was backed by saying Snowden revealed to ISIS a way to plot the Paris attacks, a plan that normally would’ve taken months, was now a breeze with this hack. Many think Snowden uncovered America’s upper hand in the war against terrorism and handed it to the very enemy itself. It seems personal liberties become less essential in times of peril, and security must take all priority.In times of fear, the desire for safety and security can often trump the protection for liberties. Although disasters caused by terrorism are inhumane, the means of catching these acts can often be mis-directed at the innocent. If a nation’s own citizens are being punished for voicing their rights, and sharing information, their utmost basic rights have been stomped on in the same of security. These rights are indisputable and as said by Benjamin Franklin, should never be traded for protection.