23 October 2008

Liberty vs. Security

Considering I will be traveling to a "less secure and free" part of the world in January, I found this article quite interesting in the context of my future travels, the current US elections, and in terms of international relations.

Balancing liberty with security
By Paul Reynolds 
World affairs correspondent

Sir Ken Macdonald, the outgoing Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales, said in his final speech on 20 October: "We need to take very great care not to fall into a way of life in which freedom's back is broken by the relentless pressure of a security state."

But as governments react to the changing threats posed since the 2001 terror attacks on the US, what has been the impact on civil liberties in western societies?

Guantanamo Bay, military tribunals, renditions, water-boarding, warrantless surveillance - all these have been part of US policy since 9/11.

What can we do if the liberty/security problem is a zero-sum game?  Which direction should we lean?