The Instigator
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4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Individual privacy is more important than national security

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,175 times Debate No: 71909
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Individual privacy is more important than national security, because the Constitution protects people's rights of privacy. The First Amendment protects people's privacy of belief; the Third Amendment protects the privacy of house against the need of housing for soldiers; the Fourth Amendment protects the privacy of personal possessions and is against to unreasonable searches; the Fifth Amendment protects the privacy of personal information. Privacy is essential in every person's life.


Primarily, it must be understood that the Constitution was drafted at a time when America was very young and not yet an economic and political powerhouse. Highly destructive weapons/force such as nuclear bombs, unmanned aerial drones, and long ranged rockets had yet to be invented, and therefore, there lacked a serious threat of foreign militaristic acts of terror at the time. With the United States being as powerful as it is today, it is the government's duty to both secure and ensure the safety of the nation as a whole. In a society where a bomb can be made out of a pressure cooker, the safety of the individual should come instinctively before his/her privacy.
Debate Round No. 1


The Amendments about privacy has not been repealed or ratified, which shows that it is still important in modern life. Privacy is a fundamental human right that cannot be taken away, even when the nation is endangered. Where does the so called ' National Security' stand when the people of the nation don't even trust the government? The government should provide basic surveillance to protect the country but as it was revealed in the Snowden incident, the over-control from the government has gone too far. There was no proper system established, therefore who's to decide which cell phone record to listen and who's to decide what kind of agency could have the right to listen to others personal conversations or information without the person knowing?


The promotion of strong national security does not imply the complete removal of personal privacy. This issue is not an example of "black and white" where there is either all security and no privacy or all privacy and no security. The ironic factor about national security is that nobody thinks it is needed, until it actually is. We certainly hope it is never needed, but it is the truthful reality that in today's age national protection is both essential and the omission of it could quite possibly be catastrophic.
The concept of the Amendments persists to be used as the only defense to a protection of privacy over the security of safety. Although an integral part of American society, the Amendments do not reflect society's best interest. They provide basic rights and responsibilities that all participants must abide by. The repeal process is intensely vigorous and near impossible with the exception of prohibition. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that anyone would really consider going through the process of eliminating such vital American rights, so the fact they have not been repealed is not indicative of citizens content with specific details. Lastly, there exists no amendment which states the government cannot pursue possibly threats. We live in an age of terror. Can we really afford to not be cautious?
Debate Round No. 2


You avoided to answer the problem that there is actually no proper laws or system established on the behalf of government surveillance.

"We live in an age of terror. Can we really afford to not be cautious?"

The argument you are making is actually an act of planting terror in minds and there's no proof of we are living in danger. 'Being cautious' does not mean in any ways of violating individuals' private rights. The nation is consisted of individual citizens. If citizens' privacy and security cannot be protected, how can the citizens unite together and protect the interest of the nation when they don't even agree or trust the government? National Admittedly, privacy and national security are both necessary. Security should be established on the basic of individual's privacy.


The following is a list of attacks against and plots related to the United States over the span of thirteen years, as reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

Bin Laden Associate Abu Ghayth Charged | Conviction
Sentencing in Plot to Bomb New York Federal Reserve
Portland Christmas Plot Conviction | Sentencing

Plot to Attack Seattle Military Processing Center: Abdul-Latif Sentencing | Mujahidh sentencing
Cleveland Bridge Plot Sentencing | 2013 Guilty Plea
El-Khalifi Sentencing for Capitol Bomb Plot
Daniel Patrick Boyd Sentencing

Bin Laden Killed

New York Terror Plot Convictions
Faisal Shahzad: Guilty Plea | Sentencing
Smadi: Guilty Plea | Sentencing
Najibullah Zazi: Press Release | Story
Khalid Ouazzani: Guilty Plea

Liberty Six Convictions
Kassir Material Support Conviction
Ali Al-Marri: Guilty plea | Podcast

Holy Land Foundation
Hassan Abu-Jihaad
Jose Padilla
Torrance Plot: Story | Sentencing

Derrick Shareef
Fort Dix Plot
Hamid Hayat
New York Airport Fuel Tanks Plot

Operation Backfire
International Drug-for-Weapons Program
Sami al-Arian
Operation "White Terror"
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali
Ali Asad Chandia and Mohammed Ajmal Khan
Gale Nettles, Homegrown Terrorist
Uzair Paracha

Abdurahman Alamoudi: Story | Press release
Matthew Hale
Operation Pop Concert

Earnest James Ujaama
Iyman Faris
Hamant Lakhani: Story | Press release
Maher Hawash
Portland Seven

Beltway Snipers: Part 1 | Part 2

9/11 Investigation
Richard Reid
USS Cole bombing

With all of these major instances in mind (and many minor ones along with the attacks that have occurred 2014-2015), I again question the logic that the privacy of cell phones, for instance, far outweighs the thousands of lives taken through the above events. Government agencies such as the TSA, FBI, CIA, and NSA do not care what you had for breakfast or what time you are going to the mall. They were established on the pretenses to protect all Americans from threats both foreign and domestic. What they are looking for, then, IS potential threats. In short, if you are not doing anything wrong, the government will not and need not pay a mind to you.
On the question of "government surveillance not being in the constitution," I simply resort back to my previous answer which you must have missed or evaded comment on. The Constitution was drafted at a time when surveillance was not necessary nor did we have the means to do so. This is the era of technology, and with that, comes both opportunity and opposition. There are more mediums for violence now than the founding fathers could have ever predicted. I don't know about you, but I enjoy getting on a plane with little to no worry that I will get off safely at my destination.
Debate Round No. 3


To answer the question of "government surveillance not being in the constitution," the 4th Amendment banns the "unreasonable searches and seizures." The massive surveillance by the government is the act of secretively searching personal information with the advanced technologies in the 21st century.
The surveillance that is conducting by the government is under the general "unreasonable searches and seizures", therefore, it is banned by the constitution.
In your previous argument, you stated that if the citizens are not doing anything wrong, the government doesn't need to pay attention to them. It is only reasonable if the government agenciesfind someone suspicious of terrorism, and then monitor the suspect with a search warrant.


The key word, in this case, is "unreasonable." Whether or not the surveillance that the government does is lawful depends heavily on the operational definition of unreasonable. I would contend that unreasonable surveillance, in this age, simply means monitoring or tracking a person, business, or entity without a tangible reason to do so. In layman's terms, this means the government cannot search or arrest you without imminent and clear evidence. It is exactly for this reason that law enforcement must follow such strict criminal punishment laws. Given probable cause, it is perfectly legal for the government or local police to enact a surveillance of a possible threat. And might I add, it is this surveillance that has prevented numerous potentially deadly acts upon American citizens. That statement is one we too often take for granted.
Lastly, I would like to conclude with a rather bold point. Circling back to the original focus question of this debate, as stated in the title, I believe a rewording is in order to better reflect the severity of your statement.
The title should read as follows:
Do you value privacy more than your life?
Debate Round No. 4


As much as I value my life, there is no indication that I will lose my life if there is no government surveillance. NSA-conducted surveillance program PRISM launched in 2007 and was revealed to the public in 2013. Still, the U.S. was under terrorist attacks after 2007, such as the Boston Marathon bombing. There is no evidence that shows the surveillance program has successfully prevented any single one terrorist attack. As you listed, there were so many attacks was NOT put a stop to. People should not be willing to sacrifice their privacy for a program with no proper regulations nor it can't show its effectiveness.


lagessemsc2015 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by desaulnierspmsc2014 2 years ago
Well argued --- national security presents a pretty compelling argument, even if they did forfeit a round.
Posted by TotallyAtomic 2 years ago
Yes, the advantages of having national surveillance upon the world have helped greatly save thousands of lives so the advantages overweigh the disadavantages. Anyways the NSA prioritizes their security sweeps mostly on foreign land.
Posted by lucianimsc2015 2 years ago
I agree, privacy is an incredibly important factor in daily life. Not everything someone does needs to be public, especially since privacy is protected by the constitution.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Objectivity 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con FF