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Debating the Benefits of NSA Surveillance

October 6, 2013
Published in Issues

JUNE 2014 NSDA PRIVACY v. NATIONAL SECURITY ESSAY

Updated: October 21, 2013

November PF Release  Update file  NSA Surveillance News Tracker

NSA-Surveillance-Program

Introduction

Resolved: The benefits of domestic surveillance by the NSA outweigh the harms.

The November Public Forum resolution focuses on the question of whether or not the benefits of domestic (in the United States) surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) outweigh the harms.  This topic has become a hot one for debate since it was disclosed this past June by former defense contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA is engaging in extensive surveillance inside the United States in order to fight crime and reduce the threat of terrorism.  The magnitude of the disclosure shocked many people, including elected representatives, who were unaware of the extent of the surveillance.  Many civil rights advocates view the surveillance as an assault on liberty while law enforcement and national security officials see the programs as essential weapons in the war on terror.

In this essay, I will review the major known NSA surveillance programs and discuss the general pros and cons of said programs.

Resolution terms

“The benefits of.”  I think this phrase is interesting because it posits that there are benefits to the security measures that have been adopted even before the debate begins. The question of …

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