The Instigator
wrichcirw
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
the_croftmeister
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Privacy is a Fundamental Right

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/30/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,264 times Debate No: 35151
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (20)
Votes (1)

 

wrichcirw

Pro

Background:

This debate originated from this thread on Edward Snowden:

http://www.debate.org...

My esteemed opponent saw little to no reason to be agitated by the NSA surveillance program PRISM. In order to attempt to understand his perspective, I made several allusions to physical reality, whether it be the government surreptitiously installing cameras into one's home, or government surveillance of public roads.

For this specific debate, I want to debate one specific aspect of privacy - surveillance on public roads. To keep this debate relevant to the debate surrounding PRISM, the situation will be thus - that the government has somehow installed a satellite and on-the-ground surveillance system that can monitor the comings and goings of each and every American citizen while they are utilizing public roads for any reason, whether it be as a pedestrian or a motorist (to include cyclists, passengers, etc). This surveillance system has been installed without public knowledge - it is a clandestine surveillance system. Motorists are allowed to tint their rear passenger and rear windows to circumvent surveillance, although no one is sure that this surveillance system actually exists due to its clandestine nature. The government records any and all information resulting from this surveillance system, and is allowed to do so without obtaining a warrant.

PRO will argue that this scenario violates fundamental rights to privacy.

CON will argue that this scenario does not violate fundamental rights to privacy, either because the scenario does not violate one's privacy, or because privacy is not a fundamental right inherent to citizens of a country whose government acknowledges and accepts the responsibility of upholding the fundamental rights of its citizenry.

Anarchist arguments stemming from a politically nihilistic philosophy are not allowed for this debate - we are to assume the legitimacy of a functioning government for the purposes of this debate.



Resolution:

Privacy is a Fundamental Right



Definitions:

Privacy - freedom from unauthorized intrusion - for the purposes of this debate, the public roads scenario represents an unauthorized intrusion, as it was done without public knowledge.

Fundamental Right - for the purposes of this debate, a fundamental right will be one that is universally recognized as a just pursuit of any legal system, including the American legal system. Basically, any fundamental right belonging to an individual should be defended by the coercive powers of the state. Common fundamental rights would be the right to live without experiencing theft, rape, or murder.

A plain English aim of this debate would be that "the government has no business conducting unauthorized surveillance of public roads."

For PRO to win this debate, PRO must demonstrate either that 1) the government has no business conducting this surveillance, or 2) if it did, it must be made public knowledge that such surveillance occurs. CON will argue that both the surveillance itself and unauthorized nature of the surveillance is fully justifiable.



Rules:

4,000 character round
4 rounds

Round #1 acceptance
Rounds 2/3 arguments
Round #4 closing, no new arguments, no new sources

This will be a NO SCORING debate. Readers are free to note who ultimately convinced them of their arguments along with any other observations and constructive criticisms of the debate, however, I ask that readers not score this debate, in order to make more objective the reader's comments.
the_croftmeister

Con

I accept the amended resolution as mentioned in comments.

I will argue that privacy is not a fundamental right and therefore road monitoring is within the legitimate business of government.

I reject usage of the term 'unauthorised monitoring' as it is uneccessarily prejudicial. Such monitoring may have been sanctioned by the elected representatives of the people without the people being aware of its existence and can thus be authorised by the legitimate government (if we are to assume governmental legitimacy as my opponent suggests). I would instead prefer the term 'unadvertised monitoring' as it does not suffer from this connotation.

I would also like my opponent to clarify what precisely he means by surveillance of pedestrians. Does this include surveillance of the sidewalk? Paths within parks that do not border roads? Does the system have the means to identify pedestrians or does it use number plate analysis to determine the registered owner of the vehicle? Presumably facial recognition software could determine the identity of pedestrians and cyclists but it may only be done after the fact, rather than routinely.

Perhaps we should take the most extreme example of using biometrics to determine an individual's identity on leaving their place of residence and keeping track of every move they make since this would be where our positions have the most obvious differences. However, I would caution the audience that I do not believe that such a thing is currently possible or that it would be cost effective. I ask that they keep in mind that I am not arguing that such monitoring is the responsibility of government (in fact I would not support such a policy), just that I would not dismiss it for reasons of violation of privacy. I may support a more conservative monitoring programme, but that would depend on its aim and extent.

I ask these questions not because they are particularly important to my argument, just that they will give the audience a better idea of what it is that I am actually asserting.

A monitoring programme is not to be dismissed based on the right to privacy of citizens, but there may be other reasons to dismiss such a programme.
Debate Round No. 1
wrichcirw

Pro

My opponent has engaged in activity I consider to be in extremely poor form. Had this been a scored debate, I would demand his immediate forfeiture for not adhering to the stiputations of this debate. He accepted this debate, so to contest what he accepted renders his arguments a priori invalid.

Specifically:

CON: "I reject usage of the term 'unauthorised monitoring' as it is uneccessarily prejudicial."

This is simply not true. My opponent accepted the usage of the term 'unauthorized monitoring' by accepting this debate.

As this is central to defining the resolution, specifically the word "privacy", the debate cannot continue until there is agreement upon what exactly we are debating.

My opponent also has various questions about the kind of surveillance inherent in this scenario. This is just more evidence that my opponent is not exactly sure what we are debating, rendering actual debate on this matter impossible.

---

The logic here is similar to thus:

Given that

1) Chocolate is a sweet food
2) I like sweet foods

Therefore, I like chocolate

...my opponent accepted 1) and 2), and then proceeded to argue that "Chocolate is not a sweet food". Ridiculous...he already accepted that chocolate is a sweet food, so to argue otherwise is to not argue the topic at hand and thus forfeit the argument.

---

As this is not a scored debate, and both my opponent and I are motivated in debating this topic, I encourage my opponent to state any other changes he would like made to the rules of this debate, preferably in the comments section or via PM. Then, we can start another, more proper debate on this resolution.
Debate Round No. 2
wrichcirw

Pro

Will start another debate the moment this one concludes. Apologies for the inconvenience.
the_croftmeister

Con

the_croftmeister forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
wrichcirw

Pro

Please do not score this debate, thank you.
the_croftmeister

Con

the_croftmeister forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
Hmmm...I'm having trouble remembering my opening arguments. It's been nearly a months since I've engaged in this topic.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
no problem. I got another debate going on that's about to end. After that one's done, I'll come back to this one. Cheers.
Posted by the_croftmeister 3 years ago
the_croftmeister
Also, while the lawyer doesn't have to be present, it sure helps (the judge is required to do that, but there is no guarantee that they will). Also, the whole point of a contract is to make sure you have judicial recourse if a breach occurs. If no breach occurred, then the contract wasn't necessary in the first place. Contracts are just insurance. Their secondary purpose (to set out the terms of the agreement) does not require enforceability under the law at all. Of course, you might be of a different opinion, seeing breach of an agreement that is not enforceable as justification for judgement in its own right. I don't hold that view, but I can understand it. I suppose the judgement can be seen as a kind of penalty for breach of contract anyway, just a personal one rather than a social one.

Again, I'm sorry for the offense, I'll not do it again (especially now I know you can change round 1).
Posted by the_croftmeister 3 years ago
the_croftmeister
Ah fair enough, I had no idea you could change the round #1. I'll keep that in mind for the future. I'm ready to go now (back in Australia) so should we start again?
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
1) Yes, I can change my round #1 as long as my opponent does not accept the debate. This leaves the terms to be open to negotiation. This is how I made changes to my round #1 when you proffered your initial set of objections. I did not expect you to accept the debate when you still had objections to the wording of round #1.

2) I don't know how law works where you're at, but in the US, a lawyer does not necessarily have to be present for the judge to look at relevant portions of a contract. A judge would not be involved in contracts in the first place unless there was a dispute arising from breach of contract. From what I can tell, you don't really dispute any of what's going on and are more than willing to just start another debate on this, as am I.
Posted by the_croftmeister 3 years ago
the_croftmeister
I'm confused, can you change your first round before I submit? because otherwise the 'changes' aren't as visible to the audience as your original post was. In law, the audience is a judge and there is a lawyer present to ensure that the judge looks at al relevant portions of the contract, so the analogy doesn't quite go through. As I said, I understand what the custom is. I don't agree with it but I will abide by it because it is custom. Unfortunately I'm on holiday in Thailand at the moment so I wont have time to debate this but I'm still interested in doing so once I get back on the 11th. Get stuck in when I get back?
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
"I did not think I was adding 'additional constraints' but merely clarifying what you actually meant..."

See, I agree that your request for clarification was warranted. However, it becomes rather unfair to me to waste my actual debating space (all rounds outside of round #1) on clarifying the resolution, when I should be debating the resolution. It would be like starting a boxing match when you forgot where you put your gloves.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
"Simple enough then. I would not have accepted under any circumstances. You would have had to create a new debate regardless if you actually want to debate the subject. "

See, that's simply not the case. You proposed changes, and I changed them BEFORE you accepted.

Think of accepting a debate as signing a contract. There's typically a negotiation process before you sign any contract (I would hope). That's essentially what happens in round #1.

That's exactly why I can say that "round #1 is an appeal from both of us when [I] wrote it and then challenged [you]."

No need to apologize. What's important is that we both understand where we're coming from.
Posted by the_croftmeister 3 years ago
the_croftmeister
Simple enough then. I would not have accepted under any circumstances. You would have had to create a new debate regardless if you actually want to debate the subject. Perhaps next time you could discuss with me in the forums before issuing such a challenge? I don't think I have been unreasonable in any of my requests and for you to upbraid me so in your round #2 I find a little rude and offensive. If this was purely to make your thoughts on the matter clear for others as some kind of 'example making' then I suppose I can understand and withdraw.

You can hardly say that round #1 is an appeal from both of us when you wrote it and then challenged me. If it had not been a challenge based on a previous forum discussion (especially if it was scored) I would of course hold a different view.

Again I apologise for being unaware of the specifics of custom in this case. I don't like debates so I don't read a lot of them. That is my only excuse. As I said, I will not make this mistake again. I did not think I was adding 'additional constraints' but merely clarifying what you actually meant. Is this actually what you meant? Or did I misread your statements?

With these clarifications I imagine you can probably craft a new resolution that I will not object to. If you want to go ahead.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
If you take issue with a silent round #1, keep in mind that by accepting, your round #1 is the same as my round #1...there's no need for you to add anything to it other than your agreement. Keep in mind that you also have last word as well, which can be quite potent if the debate is close, so I wouldn't take offense at just keeping round #1 at acceptance, as is standard practice here.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
wrichcirwthe_croftmeisterTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession to pro, however pro requested it not be voted on (moving it out of the 0 vote category).