Is spying wrong?

Is spying wrong?

Jul 17

The drama and media attention around the US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked US spying secrets, has stimulated a live debate around the world; is spying on citizens and foreigners by governments wrong? Is it wrong for the US to hound one of its own citizens for reporting on government spying activities?

Information is a very important aspect of decision making in government and rulers all through history have used many means and ways to acquire information on enemy positions and strength in war, court shenanigans in imperial times, prospective lands to attack and so on. Information enables pre- planning to anticipate events and prevent crimes and gain advantage over adversaries. In matters concerning security, this could be the difference between a bomb going off and killing several citizens and preventing it.

What seems to anger many people is that they were ‘secretly’ spied upon. But spying is just that, secretive, otherwise it would not yield much since potential candidates would shield their activities. Germany, France and other European countries condemned the possible spying on their missions wondering why the US would want to spy on ‘friends’.

The question to ask is; are there ‘friends’ when it comes to the security of a county’s own citizens? The Boston Bombing was perpetrated by a US citizen: Before he detonated those bombs, was he a friend or foe of the US government? Continuing terror plots worldwide means no one is immune from being spied on inside and outside a country.