Security vs Privacy: The Ethics of Data Collection

In this episode of Razorwire, we delve into the ongoing debate between privacy and security in the world of cyber security. 

Our guests this week, Iain Pye and Chris Dawson, offer different perspectives on this issue, exploring the meaning of privacy, the significance of security and the accumulation of data. Our discussion also touches on topics such as government surveillance, commercial tracking and the use of AI to compile reports. While we agree that technology is advancing too quickly for privacy, we also believe that it’s crucial to strike a balance between privacy and security. Tune in to gain valuable insights into the ongoing tension between privacy and security in the digital age.

“I think the difference between privacy and security is that privacy involves how your data is used and security is there to protect that. One can live without the other, the other can’t live without the other one. So security can exist without privacy but the reverse is not true in my eyes.”

Iain Pye

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In this episode, we covered the following topics:

  • The difference between privacy and information privacy, and what cultural differences we encounter. 
  • Government surveillance and commercial tracking – are they necessary for security purposes? What role does AI play?
  • Privacy and the Stifling Effect – does constant surveillance limit people’s willingness to do anything controversial or experimental?
  • The debate over government surveillance and the idea of having a backdoor through encryption
  • Privacy rights and the use of CCTV
  • The potential for using AI to compile reports to prevent human operators having access to private data
  • The privacy concerns surrounding facial recognition technology
  • The use of AI for monitoring protests 
  • The debate over whether we need body cameras and CCTV for constant monitoring, for use in emergency situations
  • Whether we should use technology to monitor individuals to flag suspicious and dangerous patterns of behaviour
  • How we can prevent the misuse of information


Iain Pye

Iain is a Cyber Security, Data Protection and Risk Specialist with over 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Iain has worked in a range of industries from finance, legal, security and government. When Iain is not fighting fires or arguing personal data ethics, Iain likes exploring the world with his family and occasionally going for a run through the Fens with the dog. If the dog is up for it, which she is usually not. 

Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson is a former Royal Marine of 11 years. He moved into the private security sector in 2012 taking up various roles across the globe, from hostile environments to the corporate world, advising and implementing security protocols in multiple sectors while gathering and learning as much as possible along the way.  

Resources Mentioned

Edward Snowden

Ashley Madison


Ring Doorbell

ICO Website


Cambridge Analytica

Other episodes you’ll enjoy

Data Protection and Ethical Standards in Cyber Security

The Impact of Compliance and Legislation

Connect with your host James Rees

Hello, I am James Rees, the host of the Razorwire podcast. This podcast brings you insights from leading cyber security professionals who dedicate their careers to making a hacker’s life that much more difficult.

Our guests bring you experience and expertise from a range of disciplines and from different career stages. We give you various viewpoints for improving your cyber security – from seasoned professionals with years of experience, triumphs and lessons learned under their belt, to those in relatively early stages of their careers offering fresh eyes and new insights.

With new episodes every other Wednesday, Razorwire is a podcast for cyber security enthusiasts and professionals providing insights, news and fresh ideas on protecting your organisation from hackers.

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