Privacy is a Fundamental Right
Debate Rounds (4)
This debate originated from this thread on Edward Snowden:
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.
Privacy is a Fundamental Right
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.
4,000 character round
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Will start another debate the moment this one concludes. Apologies for the inconvenience.
the_croftmeister forfeited this round.
Please do not score this debate, thank you.
the_croftmeister forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
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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).
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