American Dilemma: Security vs. Privacy

The U.S. government is in a bind: It wants to stop criminals and terrorists, but it also wants to fulfill its obligations to respect its citizens’ right to privacy. Navigating this quandary has been a problem for years, and with the popularity of social media, the volume of data about individuals’ lives that is available to be analyzed— and exploited—has increased exponentially. Not only does this mass of data have the potential to overwhelm intelligence analysts and law enforcement officers if they tried to crunch it all, it raises the question: what information is fair game in today’s world and for what causes? As then-FBI Director James Comey once said, “Are we so mistrustful of government—and law enforcement—that we are willing to let bad guys walk away… willing to leave victims in search of justice?”

The Cipher Brief takes an in-depth look at how the expanding digital world has been a challenge for those charged with keeping Americans safe, while at the same time protecting their most cherished civil liberties.

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