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Snowden and Zakaria Debate Data Privacy

YYW
Posts: 36,391
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5/1/2016 5:29:16 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
http://debatesofthecentury.org...

This is very cool. They debated this topic "Resolved: Government should have lawful access to any encrypted message or device."

It would be interesting to see all of you guys provide an RFD.
Tsar of DDO
TrumpTriumph
Posts: 165
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5/1/2016 10:39:25 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
This was a fascinating debate, very well-argued by both sides.

== Zakaria's case ==

Ultimately, I think Zakaria lost because of his lack of expertise in the areas of technology & law enforcement (relative to Snowden). As per usual, his argument was a very pragmatic, very prima facie sensible one -- allowing zones of absolute privacy via encryption subverts the rule of law, because it allows for there to be impenetrable cyber-spaces in which illegal activity can occur.

However, simply having common sense is not sufficient in a debate of this nature. Snowden effectively defeated Zakaria's argument by drawing on his experience with technology and law enforcement -- he thoroughly explained how encryption doesn't necessarily create an "impenetrable" space, because there are alternative ways for law enforcement to get around the barriers it poses (e.g. waiting for the culprit himself to try accessing his encrypted information and then tracking him, utilizing standard hacking procedures, etc). Moreover, those methods are precisely how we've been dealing with encryption all along.

Zakaria responded by bringing up the idea of "inequality in law enforcement" -- i.e. not all law enforcement agencies can afford to utilize those alternative methods. Unfortunately, he was screwed over by the moderator, who prematurely shifted the subject and didn't let Snowden respond... this prevented Zakaria from sufficiently developing his response, and he didn't extend it to the end of the debate either, so I can't really give it significant weight as a judge. Damn the moderator.

The main takeaway from here was that encryption is merely an inconvenience to law enforcement -- it's not an insurmountable barrier, and maintaining the status quo (i.e. negating the resolution) will be sufficient to handle virtually any criminal threat.

== Snowden's case ==

Snowden took a more technical, scientific approach to the issue. He did a great job of presenting cybersecurity as something which should be our first and foremost priority -- if some Chinese hacker were to figure out how to breach encryption on a nation-wide level, our entire economy, society, and way of life could potentially be destroyed.

He then tells us about the widespread consensus among experts that creating de-encryption software is inherently harmful because it has the effect of undermining cybersecurity for everyone (the moderator, once again, helped Snowden out by confirming that this consensus exists on the same level as the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming). In other words, providing a "key" for the USFG to access encrypted data makes it easier for hostile forces to use that same "key" and inflict massive harm upon us. Snowden's framing of the resolution as "government-mandated cyber-insecurity" was very persuasive, I think.

Zakaria's rebuttal wasn't particularly strong. It was essentially just bringing up how Apple has unlocked iPhones for the FBI in the past without any notable consequences. Snowden shot that down by talking about how the FBI actually did admit that Apple's creation of de-encryption software compromises general iPhone security, even if no major incidents have happened yet.

By the end of the debate, I'm left to conclude that allowing the government to have special access to encrypted data does, indeed, indirectly produce very real harms on national cybersecurity, and by extension, our civilization as a whole.

== Conclusion ==

Because I value our national cybersecurity over law enforcement's convenience, my hypothetical vote would go to Snowden.
I'm glad you brought this debate to my attention, YYW. I haven't thought much about the issue, and this helped me decide a stance on it.
#TrumpTriumph2016
tejretics
Posts: 6,093
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6/11/2016 7:39:13 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/1/2016 5:29:16 PM, YYW wrote:
It would be interesting to see all of you guys provide an RFD.

What would your RFD be?
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
YYW
Posts: 36,391
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6/11/2016 1:02:08 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 6/11/2016 7:39:13 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 5/1/2016 5:29:16 PM, YYW wrote:
It would be interesting to see all of you guys provide an RFD.

What would your RFD be?

Snowden clearly won because Zakaria didn't address the issue.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,391
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6/11/2016 1:02:40 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
DISCLAIMER:

The fact that Snowden won this debate does not mean I agree with anything he said.
Tsar of DDO
tejretics
Posts: 6,093
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6/11/2016 1:52:10 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 6/11/2016 1:02:40 PM, YYW wrote:
DISCLAIMER:

The fact that Snowden won this debate does not mean I agree with anything he said.

What is your opinion on the issue?
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
YYW
Posts: 36,391
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6/11/2016 2:58:10 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 6/11/2016 1:52:10 PM, tejretics wrote:
At 6/11/2016 1:02:40 PM, YYW wrote:
DISCLAIMER:

The fact that Snowden won this debate does not mean I agree with anything he said.

What is your opinion on the issue?

It's a complicated issue; and I have mixed feelings about it. I don't have a hard and fast view. On the one hand, I understand Snowden's concerns. On the other hand, I understand the reality that NSA type surveillance keeps the country safe.

I'm very familiar with the Snowden/Greenwald version of things. But at the same time, I slightly lean towards Michael Hayden's view. But, it's a tough issue. There are not easy answers. The real question is not whether you're all in favor of total freedom and no surveillance or the alternative of a police state like you could witness in the movie--which I highly recommend--called "The Lives of Others." The real question is this: "between those two poles, where do we draw the line?"

And I honestly don't know. I know a lot about the issue. I probably know more about the technical functionality of what the NSA does on a much broader scale than most people. In fact, the only people who know more than me are probably people who work there, because this is a subject I'm very interested in and I know a lot about. But I don't have a hard and fast answer. I don't think anyone does. I think the people who claim that they do are probably charlatans.
Tsar of DDO
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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6/11/2016 5:05:23 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
I've really dived into Hayden's arguments, and he makes some good ones that are interesting. Nobody of his status vut him seems to be able to hold their own with Snowden.

There is more to that Snowden story than most people think as well, which I would like to make a more substantial post about in the future.

For example he is probably a double agent of some sort. He is not a whistleblower. Every single person from the Unkted States or Russia who publicly defects always claim some higher motive like whistle blowing.

It is also a common Russian tactic to get revenge for people who mess with their spies (remember the sexy Russian spy America arrested?). This event happened closely after that. Another Russian tactic is to create high profile cases and get spies intentionally caught, such as what was done with Snowden. It forces intelligence agencies to over focus on Snowden while other Russian spies are ignored and able to gain more ground.
Axonly
Posts: 1,802
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6/15/2016 9:59:57 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 5/1/2016 5:29:16 PM, YYW wrote:
http://debatesofthecentury.org...

This is very cool. They debated this topic "Resolved: Government should have lawful access to any encrypted message or device."

It would be interesting to see all of you guys provide an RFD.

Correct me if I am wrong, but Snowden is the guy who released a ton of classified NSA/CIA files?
Meh!