Data privacy vs. national security: Moving the conversation forward


Let’s be honest, nothing that anybody does online is truly private. At its core, data privacy is a façade. We’re kidding ourselves if we believe otherwise.

Yet, nothing gets civil-liberties organizations and technology companies alike to shake their collective fist in the air more than the debate over government surveillance in the social media context. Often, the very same companies that are monetizing the most personal data are the ones fighting alongside those civil-liberties groups, as if amassing vast oceans of personal data for sales and marketing purposes is any less invasive or morally acceptable than the government gathering intelligence for the purposes of national security.

The long-running battle between the private and public sector over data privacy rights has taken another interesting turn. In July, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it is soliciting proposals from vendors for a contract “to proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests” through acquiring data from social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, the agency stated in its request for proposals.

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