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This text is mentioned in one exam that took place 3 days ago.

Passage:

The debate over the balance between privacy and security continues to rage. On the one hand, the desire for privacy is nearly universal and many people regard personal information as personal property to be divulged only by choice or when required for a greater good. On the other hand, criminal and terrorist activity on the internet continues to increase, and national security and public safety are often seen as legitimate reasons for government to intervene to collect personal information. The collection, without permission, of personal information by commercial enterprises for profit-related activities adds a further layer of complexity.

The question is:

Which of the following best encapsulates the ideas in this passage?

1) what new risks are generated by Big Data and Internet of Things.

2) should our right to privacy be secondary to the need to protect national security.

3) the future of data protection in the EU-political, legal and technical implementation of the right to be forgotten.

4) the current cyber-threat landscape and national/international responses.


I think (4) is the answer, but short-solution that given after exam says (2) is correct option.

Can anyone could describe which of them is better? why?

  • The subject of the passage is '{The debate over} the balance [the authorities have to address] between [the right to] privacy and [the need for national] security'. (4) is certainly a reasonable contender here, but (2) is obviously a better fit. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 31 '16 at 23:30
  • Why (2) is better fit? @EdwinAshworth – Michle Niaye Jul 31 '16 at 23:32
  • To my mind, "cyber-threat" refers more to malware, viruses & the like, rather than to issues of personal privacy v. national security. – TrevorD Jul 31 '16 at 23:36
  • The subject of the passage is '{The debate over} the balance [the authorities have to address] between [the right to] privacy and [the need for national] security'. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 31 '16 at 23:36
  • Yes, you are right @TrevorD – Michle Niaye Jul 31 '16 at 23:37
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(2) best encapsulates the ideas of the passage. The topic sentence immediately declares the paragraph's intention — to argue that the "debate over the balance between privacy and security" is an ongoing one. The next three sentences present the two competing interests in the debate — an individual right to privacy and a collective right to safety — with a classic "on the one hand...on the other hand" structure. You're right in that "the current cyber-threat landscape and national/international responses" are discussed heavily (relatively speaking) in the passage:

On the other hand, criminal and terrorist activity on the internet continues to increase, and national security and public safety are often seen as legitimate reasons for government to intervene to collect personal information.

But threats to public safety and government responses are used by the author to motivate one side of the aforementioned debate, and are not by themselves the key ideas here.

Also, for further reinforcement (and just for fun) — this was the summary of a panel discussion called "Security vs. Privacy" at the IEEE Summit on Internet Governance in 2014.

  • would you please describe a bit more about on the other hand, on the other hand structure – Michle Niaye Jul 31 '16 at 23:44
  • Sure, it's an idiomatic English phrase used to present opposing or differing viewpoints. For instance, "On the one hand, this house is in a great neighborhood. On the other hand, it's really expensive and I'm not sure if I can afford to live here." – Florian Jul 31 '16 at 23:49
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Number (2) is correct.

 

It can be deduced by summarising the paragraph, and it's sentences.

The debate over the balance between privacy and security continues to rage.

... privacy vs security are in conflict.

On the one hand, the desire for privacy is nearly universal and many people regard personal information as personal property to be divulged only by choice or when required for a greater good.

... there is a need for privacy.

On the other hand, criminal and terrorist activity on the internet continues to increase, and national security and public safety are often seen as legitimate reasons for government to intervene to collect personal information.

... there is a need for security.

The collection, without permission, of personal information by commercial enterprises for profit-related activities adds a further layer of complexity.

... determining which is more important is hard.

 

Putting it all together.

... privacy vs security are in conflict.
... there is a need for privacy.
... there is a need for security.
... determining which is more important is hard.

This summary is consistent with question (2)

(2) should our right to privacy be secondary to the need to protect national security.

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