Task 2C: The relationship between liberty and security in the UK today

Outlines of the texts

Appendix 1 includes three texts, with the third text accompanied by a chart.

Text 1 is a quote by civil liberties lawyer Abigail C. Jenkins. Jenkins argues that the high levels of surveillance practiced in the UK are not compatible with a healthy democracy, suggesting this is a threat to citizens’ freedom.

Text 2 represents UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s response to the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. May argues that the liberal values of Britain will prevail over terrorism and assures the public that security measures will be taken to protect them.

Text 3 offers data on the deportation of suspected jihadists from the UK. It is accompanied by a chart showing the terror threat levels between 2008 and 2018.

Discussion

The material in Appendix 1 suggests that today, in the context of an ever-present terrorism threat, there is a thin line between providing security to UK citizens and threatening their liberty.

Text 1 speaks about how security measures such as public surveillance – specifically, the UK’s CCTV system – effectively turn the UK into a “surveillance state”. In a surveillance state, the state legally surveys its citizens and their actions to prevent or solve a crime. Although one of the responsibilities of the state is to provide security for its citizens, a democratic society is also based on allowing citizens’ liberty to live their lives in privacy. In a surveillance state, however, security is prioritized over liberty. As Jenkins suggests,...

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