The Instigator
PutinOnTheRitz
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
HankMG22
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Governments should not spy on their own citizens

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/27/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 291 times Debate No: 81639
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

PutinOnTheRitz

Pro

Round 1 is for the establishing of the purpose of this debate, the rules, and the acceptance of said rules.

The goal is to provide a concise, though not unnecessarily brief argument that will not be a pain to read.

Rules:
1. No trolling
2. Acceptable grammar (please use spellcheck if needed).
3. Not over-critical
4. Minimal fallacies

Do you accept this rules?
Debate Round No. 1
PutinOnTheRitz

Pro

The purpose of government is to create an organized system for the safety and welfare of it's citizens., The first tribes and groups of hominids came together to be safer, to be able to defend better from an attack. Individually, they couldn't fight very well. As a group, they could fend off a greater attack. And that was the start of government and law; a set of rules by which the citizens operate, rules which were decided by those citizens. The point of an single powerful executive early on, like a male gorilla for example, or an early chief of a tribe, was to know the interest of the citizens and what was best for them, and they had no way of knowing except by asking the citizens themselves. Soon citizens became too numerous to individually ask, and counselors and advisers came to be. Their job was still to know the interest of the general population, and know their stance on topics. Such is the purpose of government; to know and follow the interest of it's citizens. After all, there is no government without citizens. Governments were made by the people, for the people, and the U.S. did not ask it's citizens if they were alright with the mass collecting of their private information in secret. Every citizen is entitled to their privacy, as everyone kept secrets. Why, when this nation was founded, people sent letters. I don't remember the government stealing and opening letters? It is the exact same with emails and texts. And if we continue the analogy, logging someone's phone call is like eavesdropping on their conversation when they are in a closed private room. This taking of information from the government's own citizens without the citizen's consent is not acceptable, and only serves to decrease productivity and increase fear.
HankMG22

Con

Pro has stated that "The purpose of government is to create an organized system for the safety and welfare of it's citizens." What if the only way "for the safety and welfare" of the people in the nation is for the government to collect information from them? For example, if there is going to be an attack somewhere, and the people who are involved communicate through their e-mails and such, wouldn't it be right for the government to look into these developments deeper and find out what's going on? What if the attack will kill, say a couple thousand people; would it be wrong for the government to violate one person's rights "for the safety and welfare" of others?

I believe that the government can and should spy on its citizens to a certain extent. They should have cameras here and there, and als spying on suspected terrorist's phones. This is not a big problem, for it saves more lives than it hurts. Small things like face-recognition in the cameras help catch known fugitives, They also help catch the people who are speeding. But I also agree with you that the government should not over-do it on spying. They shouldn't listen into every single conversation or record every text message sent. This will produce more anger than safety. I agree with you that the government shouldn't spy on the people, but only to a certain extent. They need to spy on the people to catch serial killers and other fugitives of the law. If they don't, the nation will be lawless and the government will lose its power.
Debate Round No. 2
PutinOnTheRitz

Pro

Con provided the example "What if the only way 'for the safety and welfare' of the people in the nation is for the government to collect information from them?". Well, I can guarantee you that the citizens of the nation would prefer to be asked about it, or at least know about it. If the government is hell-bent on collecting information from it's citizens, it should at least let them know. To go forward on Con's next example, "...if there is going to be an attack somewhere, and the people who are involved communicate through their e-mails and such, wouldn't it be right for the government to look into these developments deeper and find out what's going on? What if the attack will kill, say a couple thousand people?". In this case, I believe that we have reached a partial agreement, because as Con states later in their argument, I too believe that "They shouldn't listen into every single conversation or record every text message sent". And yes, I believe that some form of surveillance is necessary, but it should be stated publicly, right away, that the government is indeed watching some of it's citizens. One of the problems I have with this is that often, the governments don't just target suspected terrorists. They target many people around them. And even when they've been watched for one or two months, and haven't shown any terrorist activity, they keep being watched, because at one point they were a suspected terrorist, fugitive, or serial killer. Many times, in fact most of the time, the people being watched are ordinary citizens, with no criminal record or plans to speak of. My main point is, the government should maybe just search for keywords in calls and texts, maybe words like "bomb", "kill President", or other words that might hint some plot. A quick computer program could search for those, and if it finds a keyword, it could search for a further list of keywords within those texts or conversations. If more of those keywords were found, then it could be subjected to further scrutiny. But the texts and calls searched that don't match, that are normal, ordinary texts and calls, shouldn't be logged, or looked at by humans, just left alone. Hence, the government would not really be actively "spying" on it's citizens, but looking only at cases where the keywords point towards a threat.
HankMG22

Con

How does Pro know that the government looks at every single text message sent? And if "at one point they were a suspected terrorist, fugitive, or serial killer", and " haven't shown any terrorist activity" for one or two months, why in the world would they stop keeping surveillance upon them? If someone had punched you in the face, then wouldn't you be wary of him even after one or two months? Even if they do this towards normal citizens; the government has its reasons to keep its surveillance upon the citizens. This reason is for the safety of its people. Isn't the safety of the people infinitely more important than a little bit of an inconvenience towards the citizens?

First of all, if the government says," I am going to spy on you", then what is the purpose of the government trying to obtain information from the subject? People of America generally know that the government can access what they do in their technical devices. Terrorists are not stupid, and won't just write, "bomb, or kill the President" inside of their texts which they know that the government could access. I am sure the government does this, just to make sure, but I highly doubt that they actually have caught someone that was actually a terrorist.

I thank my opponent for a great debate. I also thank the viewers and voters who have read this debate. Overall, I had a great time with this debate. Thank you all!
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Lexus 1 year ago
Lexus
I think over-critical means over-Kritikal or challenging assumptions, @ColeTrain?
Posted by ColeTrain 1 year ago
ColeTrain
Not "over-critical" and "painless to read"? What? Why can't we use informed and critical arguments to disprove the resolution? Also... "spy" has an inherently negative connotation. Perhaps a resolution such as this would better suffice: "The United States federal government should substantially curtail domestic surveillance" or "On balance, the benefits of NSA surveillance outweigh the harms."
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