The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

should the U.S federal government curtail its domestic surveillance

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/23/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 878 times Debate No: 81398
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




I am going for the U.S.F.G should curtail its domestic surveillance. Which means whoever accepts will be going for the U.S.F.G should not curtail its domestic surveillance.
Definitions and cites will be provided if asked for otherwise they don't have to be provided.
1. a forfeit of concession must be allowed.
2. If you run out of space you must either delete it or leave it as it is.
3. Keep it clean
4.max of 10 cross x questions allowed per side.
any others?

Debate structure
Round 1 is Acceptance
Round 2 is Constructives (first arguments)
Round 3 is where both sides ask cross x questions
Round 4 answer the cross x questions
Round 5 Rebuttal (no new arguments, respond to opponent arguments.


I accept the challenge issued by steven01.

I request that he provides definitions and citations/sites of his sources in every round, I will do the same.

To be clear, I will be arguing the US should not curtail domestic surveillance.

Thanks to my opponent, and I look forward to an interesting and engaging discourse!
Debate Round No. 1


First off, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. Next I will structure my speech like a real debate.
Contention 1: Inherency
First, the court will ask if the persons whose home or property were being searched expected a degree of privacy. The court will ask if that expectation of privacy was reasonable. If the police have to enter onto your property in order to get a look at the evidence or other property that they wish to use in court, they generally have to have a search warrant to do so. Law enforcement officers are allowed to take photographs from the air above your home, or can eavesdrop on your conversations in order to get enough information to get a warrant. Police officers or other law enforcement agencies must apply for a search warrant before conducting a search of the person or premise in issue. If the search warrant allows the police to search the bathroom of a home for illegal drugs, then the police should confine their search to the bathroom. However, police can search beyond the scope of the search warrant in order to insure their safety. If the police show up at your door and ask you if they come inside to search for drugs and you consent to the search, then the police do not need a warrant. In general, the police are allowed to search and frisk you if they have a reasonable suspicion that you are armed during a traffic stop. This is not an illegal search and seizure.
To sum up my inherency argument, it is saying that there are little gaps in the current "system" for search warrants, and police are taking advantage of those little gaps.

Contention 2: Significance & Harms
The battle over surveillance has less to do with invasions of privacy and more with the sense that government decided it can do whatever it wants with impunity. If the "metadata mining" reveals a pattern of curiosity, then it is a simple matter to reach into the grab bag and pull out everything any particular individual has said for a long period of time. The FISA Court approved "programatic" surveillance by interpreting relevant to mean all. What makes the NSA dustup disturbing is the feeling within government that government can act with impunity. Judges chose consciously to turn a blind eye when their colleagues were insisting on scrutiny of actual government practices. The "head in the sand" attitude of the Judiciary is a dismal record that does not fit judicial independence. Undue difference has undermined the independent role of the judiciary. No judge wants to feel responsible for the deaths of innocents. But direct responsibility for death lies with those who contribute to the act. The judge has an ethical responsibility for abuses by government of which the judiciary is apart. Pleas for Executive carte blanche power are exactly what judicial independence was developed to avoid, and what many statements in various declarations of human rights are all about. The way if unreviewed Executive discretion is the way of tyranny. Globalization has resulted in a net gain in power for executives. Such an imbalance poses a growing threat for protection of individual rights by domestic courts. Judicial globalization providers a parallel approach to restore the balance. Judicial separation of power justifies borrowing on non-democratic transnational judicial dialogue with reference to international law. It gives national judiciary a unique expertise on once aspect of foreign affairs, and so is a further exception to the usual presumption that the judiciary is the least qualified branch. From a democratic point of view, restoring the balance is a predicate for any well-ordered form of democratic self-government. Democratically free people do not make war. Bonds and shared value sew them together. Liberal values dispose them toward peaceful negotiation. As we promote freedom we will decrease world's wars. We have already seen decrease in world violence with increase in democracies.

Contention 3: Solvency
The Freedom Act, will make modest changes to the Patriot Act. We still have a major problem in the US of massive NSA snooping, and that's really left unresolved. Nuclear weapons continue to proliferate. Life appears endangered. Countries that govern themselves do not go to war with one another, do not build WMD's, or sponsor terrorism. Democratic countries form trading partnerships and are more environmentally responsible.
Next the plan,

Next my plan. My plan is:

The United States Federal Government should uphold the case American Civil Liberties Union v Clapper that the collection on metadata by or for the use of the NSA is unconstitutional.

I have an advantage but I will sum it up. My INDIA ADVANTAGE is basically saying that we are influencing them. So if we increase our surveillance then India will see that and they will do the same. This will make Pakistan mad and will start a war with India. This war will contain nuclear weapons. When other countries see this war happening they will jump in and potentially another world war will nuclear weapons.

With that I am now open for my opponents arguments. Do you want the website or author for the cite?


**Regarding my opponent’s case**

This website contains Pro’s first argument, almost word for word:

This Google Doc contains my opponent’s following argument:

This search shows where the argument was taken from (first result):


Instead of providing his own arguments, Pro uses this document to argue for him, as well as an uncited website for his Inherency argument. This is entirely unacceptable and is plagiarism. By this token, I should already win the debate. However, I will still provide a case of my own to fulfill my burden (though Pro’s has not been met).

Former Governor of Connecticut Jodi Wells was once quoted for saying, “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.” Security and safety are essentials to living a happy, contented life. When individuals feel insecure, problems ensue. A just government should do all they can to ensure a secure and safe life for their citizens. It is because I believe that the goals politician Jodi Wells mentioned are achievable, I negate the resolution which states: “The USFG should significantly curtail domestic surveillance.” To begin, I would like to point out a few terms mentioned in the resolution.

Government: This refers the ruling of the US, the federal government.

Surveillance: Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "surveillance" as the act of carefully watching someone or something, especially in order to prevent or detect crime. Cameras are obviously going to be a tool used to achieve surveillance. Thus, these cameras' primary purpose will be used as a form of security.

Government exists primarily to govern the people in a way that will maximize societal welfare to the highest possible degree. Real-world benefits, as opposed to theoretical ones (i.e. privacy), should embody the content of the debate because it allows the visualization of actual implications when comparing benefits and costs. If retaining domestic surveillance maximizes the well-being and welfare of society, it should be preferred. As I will demonstrate, negating the resolution and preserving domestic surveillance will yield the best, tangible benefits to society as a whole, being utilitarian and maximizing societal welfare.

Benefits of Surveillance Outweigh Supposed Harms
Security is inevitably achieved for public places.
Recently, the city of Baltimore installed over 600 surveillance cameras all around the city. The reasoning behind this is simple. In a study taken by NeighborhoodScout, they found that Baltimore was one of the top 20 (18 to be exact) most dangerous cities in the United States. Danger comes in all forms, but one is generally of more prominence--crime. Surveillance cameras, being their primary purpose, would assist in dealing with crime. With crime running rampant, people cannot feel secure in simply going to a public place.

When individuals are in fear, they definitely aren’t secure in the power or ability of their government. These cameras can also prove what actually happened, rather than unreliable “eyewitness” accounts. The majority of the time, these accounts aren’t the whole truth. Law professor Eugene Volokh of UCLA School of Law explains, “People are notoriously bad at observing and remembering exactly what happened.” Either one of two things is the result of such fallible memory: 1) they can’t remember exactly what happened, so they tell the closest to accurate tale they can, or 2) they have the liberty to blatantly lie to law enforcement. Neither result is beneficial to achieving justice in whatever matter is at hand. With surveillance cameras strategically positioned in public areas, they can accurately display the chain of events and interactions leading to and following the crime. People will be secure in knowing that judgment that is due will be given, and any harm caused will be adequately dealt with.

Surveillance cameras also have benefits in school settings. They allow students to be physically, mentally, and emotionally safe. School shootings are becoming distressing problems, and many people are worried about the safety of their students. Security cameras can allow teachers and school guards (which many schools now have) to monitor any intruder that may approach the campus. If a suspect becomes aggressive, the school can monitor the actions of the attacker to prevent students from being in harm's way. If the students can be mentally and emotionally safe, they will be better able to concentrate on their assignments and increase productivity.

Surveillance deters crime.
The same is applicable to the public. The realization that societal and public activity is monitored would deter initial criminal action. Consequential recognition deters crime. Joerg Platzer details this concept: “Surveillance is a weapon deployed by the government against their biggest enemy – the people. Just like many other weapons, it unfolds most of its power by merely letting people know that one has that weapon by deterrence. I mean what use is the surveillance system for the government if people don’t know about it? I think the biggest benefit out of this leak is going to the US government.” [3] Essentially, any leakage of surveillance is bound to deter crimes, since people don’t want to pay adverse consequences for criminal activity.

This is further reiterated by Jack Balkin in the Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository, “Older models of law enforcement have focused on apprehension and prosecution of wrongdoers after the fact and the threat of criminal or civil sanctions to deter future bad behavior. The National Surveillance State supplements this model of prosecution and deterrence with technologies of prediction and prevention.” [4] Instead of punishing people after the fact, surveillance would deter the infraction before it was even committed.

Privacy is not a big issue
There are regulations in place to prevent abuse and deflect unnecessary and unethical observation. [5] [6] These policies and explanations of domestic surveillance curb fears of privacy infraction and potential abuse of the system. Regardless, the majority of surveillance takes place in the public, where privacy is forfeited. By entering a public vicinity, rights to visual and audible privacy are subsequently forfeited. Moreover, by the framework of the debate, privacy is theoretical and should be relatively irrelevant to tangible, real-world effects and the maximization of societal welfare.

Problems Remain Unsolved Without Surveillance
Court decisions can only go off of the evidence they have, and from there, their only option would be to trust witness accounts. In practically every case, each witness account contradicts with another in some way, shape, or form. Solvencies for these types of discrepancies are easily discovered by systems of surveillance from the government.

Police tickets for running red lights, stop signs, and other traffic related difficulties would be cleared up simply by using surveillance programs. Not only would these unsolved problems be solved, but it would discourage individuals from committing crimes when they feel they have a regulated sense of accountability and punishment for illegal or adverse behavior.

I've fulfilled the framework by showing tangible benefits by preserving surveillance.

The resolution is negated.








Debate Round No. 2


Where did you find those sites?
Why do you think I plagiarized?


**This round is prescribed to be for questions only... however, I feel the necessity to answer the questions partially for clarification so I can provide a full answer in round 4**

"Where did you find those sites?" -- To which sites are you referring? The ones that exemplify your arguments, or the ones I referenced for my arguments? (Full answer, after these clarification concerns are mitigated, will come in round 4)

"Why do you think I plagiarized?" -- The answer here is quite obvious: your arguments were entirely unoriginal, and there were sites that outlined your exact case; all were the cited words of professionals, with no further explanation of the arguments. Per the definition, this is plagiarism. Merriam-Webster Dictionary: plagiarism - "the act of using another person's words or ideas without giving credit to that person" [1] I revealed the sites and subsequent Google Doc (since I had to transfer the file to a google doc -- it was an online link to a doc) which contained proof of the copied material.

My Questions:

Are tangible benefits measurable?

If a policy maximizes societal welfare, should it be preserved?

If a policy demonstrates the maximization of societal welfare on a utilitarian level, should it be implemented?

Is the destruction of societal welfare and safety advisable?

Hypothetically, if you were to commit a crime, would the realization that documented footage of the activity would exist, would it in any way dissuade you from committing the crime?

Should tangible benefits carry weight in policy decisions?

Should a just government attempt to protect their citizens?

Should a just government prioritize citizen protection over potential privacy infringements?

Debate Round No. 3


First off before I answer your questions, I am on a debate team and this case is our class case.
Now onto your questions.
Are tangible benefits measurable? If I understood your question correctly yes there are.
If a policy maximizes societal welfare, should it be preserved? It should be preserved yes.
If a policy demonstrates the maximization of societal welfare on a utilitarian level, should it be implemented? I believe this is pretty much the same question but yes.
Is the destruction of societal welfare and safety advisable? No the destruction of both is not advised.
Hypothetically, if you were to commit a crime, would the realization that documented footage of the activity would exist, would it in any way dissuade you from committing the crime? If I were to commit a crime, the demented footage existing would dissuade me from committing the crime.
Should tangible benefits carry weight in policy decisions? Yes
Should a just government attempt to protect their citizens? Yes because there could be possible terror attacks without anyone knowing.
Should a just prioritize citizen protection over potential privacy infringements? No because the government would want the citizens to trust them.
Now i pass it off to my opponent.


"First off before I answer your questions, I am on a debate team and this case is our class case." -- This obviously renders the case unoriginal. Moreover, it is exactly the same as another case posted preivously in a debate between TheJuniorVarsityNovice and Carson_KS.
Moreover, a closer examination of the case shows it isn't coherent. I'll get into that next round in my rebuttals, though. Regardless of whether or not it's the "team" case or not, it's unoriginal because it's on the web and also used by Carson_KS on this site.

"Where did you find those sites?" -- I showed the URL's in my argument, and it was via a simple Google Search. Also, as I mentioned, the same arguments appear on the debate between Carson_KS and TheJuniorVarsityNovice as referenced above. I already basically answered your first question in Round 3, so there's no need to answer again.

**Since there isn't really any more questions to answer, I will conclude this round and send the debate back over to my opponent**

Debate Round No. 4


I don't have much to say for this final round. You can ask Carson we're on the same debate team. The citizens don't trust the U.S.F.G. because of this surveillance program.

I was in a rush typing this. FInally I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate and making a good one.


**This round is for rebuttals. My opponent didn't respond to my case, and thus all of my harms/disadvantages are still standing**

As my opponent has not provided an alternate framework by which to measure this debate, mine is preferable and the only option. Thus, the debate should be judged on real-world implications and advantages which serve to maximize societal welfare.

Here is a contention (plagiarized/copied/unoriginal) which has no real impact on the debate. It simply lists the laws that exist currently and essentially provides no argument as to how it applies to the debate and solves for the negative position. It's summation at the end implies it's open for abuse, but does not document how it's been abused nor how that affects the resolution. This argument has NO impact and can't be upheld by the negative.

Contention 2: Significance & Harms
This argument (again copied) demonstrates that government supposedely "can do whatever it wants." This is obviously not true. Surveillance is implemented to deter terrorism, deter overall crime, and protect its citizens, thus maximizing societal welfare. Marshall C. Erwin notes surveillance has "helped prevent over 50 potential terrorist events”—which appear to encompass both active terror plots targeting the United States homeland and terrorism facilitation activity not tied directly to terrorist attacks at home or abroad." [1] It's been used to prevent and deter terrorist activity. Moreover, it's exemplified the surveillance shouldn't detriment society, as it's restricted by the US legal system. The Guardian confirms "NSA cannot, however, use these relationships to circumvent US legal restrictions. Whenever we share intelligence information, we comply with all applicable rules, including the rules to protect US person information." [2] This protects from abuse by the government.

There are references to, essentially, privacy concerns with government abuse. However, as I've shown, abuse isn't really dangerous since it's restricted in the first place, and secondly, privacy is not a big issue since it's not a real-world measurable impact but rather a theoretical one. Tangible advantages trump the theoretical ones in the long run and under my framework.

Contention 3: Solvency
My opponent proposes modest changes to the Patriot Act, but doesn't specify which ones. This leaves his side unsolved, with no ground to solve the issue at hand or prove his side preferable.

My opponent adovocates, as his plan, to uphold the ACLU vs Clapper case which essentially claims that surveillance is unconstitutional. However, he shows no example of how this will be done or WHY it's unconstitutional. I'll provide claims demonstrating the contrary, that it IS constitutional. The Supreme Court acts as a check-and-balance for the things the NSA does. Therefore, the USFG can operate with surveillance and still be constitutional, since the Supreme Court rules as such.

India Advantage
My opponents speaks of an unreferenced and seemingly invisible "India Advantage." Since he has not showed what this supposed advantage is, it holds no water. Moreover, there is no logical link between the US increasing surveillance (which is not what the resolution mentions, or what I advocate for [thus untopical]) and India following suit. There's really NO impact here since there's not established correlation between US increase and the proposed subsequent India increase and nothing to suggest Pakistan will become upset OR that war will be the result. This is just a chain of far-fetched skepictal conjectures. Disregard these and look at the tangible advantages of preserving the surveillance, as I have shown.

I've shown a plethora of reasons as to why preserving USFG surveillance is in the best interest of US citizens and how it will do the best to maximize societal welfare. These reasons have not been attacked by my opponent (and thus stand) and are as follows:

- Security is achieved by surveillance
- Surveillance deters crime/terrorism
- Privacy is not a big issue
- Problems remain unsolved without surveillance

On the flip side, I have addressed and effectively refuted each of my opponent's contentions, regardless of tangibility and impact. This leaves no option but to vote Con.

The resolution is negated.

Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by steven01 1 year ago
I meant where did you get the case
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sarai.K82 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Interesting debate. Both sides presented strong arguments, but I was ultimately more convinced b y Con's arguments (which surprised me). I also gave the Con the advantage in terms of spelling and grammar, though, both sides were articulate and understandable. I found that Con used a good mix of reliable sources. Con presented some strong arguments that got me thinking. I found him more persuasive in this particular debate.