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Do the benefits of domestic surveillance by the NSA outweigh the harms?

Asked by: Jessie_Debate14
  • The NSA's focus is on our safety, they do not exist merely to infringe on our "constitutional rights".

    First of all, the argument doesn't have to be 'national security vs. Civil liberties' both can exist together, you CAN have national security while preserving civil liberties.
    Another thing, we do not and cannot live in an ideal world... A government that takes a purely idealistic approach to the modern world will leave its people totally vulnerable to outside threats.
    Now I want to make this clear... Modern terrorists online are a real risk. This is how they contact each other, learn to make bombs and carry out attacks, they can even, without resorting to illegal means, gather a least 80% of all information needed about the enemy (with a risk now much higher, thanks to Snowden) and its through this the NSA can recognize and prevent attacks before they even happen, over 50 times since 9/11.
    Of course we can't stop EVERY attack, but there's been much more stopped thanks to the efforts of the NSA. Consider this report from cnn.Com; "Horrible events in places like Boston remind us that we're vulnerable. The best way to limit events like last week's bombings, the argument goes, is to accept 24-hour surveillance in public spaces. And when you see someone maimed by bomb shrapnel, privacy concerns sound coldly abstract. No amount of security can completely eliminate risk, so it's difficult to know where to draw the line. Are 10,000 cameras really twice as good as 5,000? In tragedy's aftermath, it can be tough to have a serious conversation about how much to invest. But when the goal is to push risk as close to zero as possible, spending can asymptotically stretch into infinity."
    No, the NSA doesn't target innocent Americans individually, they simply don't have time for that, the NSA works solely for our benefit and that is why the advantages of domestic surveillance by the NSA will always outweigh the harms.

  • If you are dead, what good are a few civil rights?

    In this situation, we need to not be selfish but to think of the greater good. It is more important to have a surviving, safe country than some freedom rights. National Security is more important individual liberty. What good are civil rights if we are all dead? If you have a problem with the NSA monitoring who you call, then you have a bigger problem of something to hide. Protecting a whole country is more important than one person’s freedom. Secondly, getting monitored is like winning the lottery. There is such a low probability that you would get monitored, you should not be worried unless you're calling a terrorist group every day. Also, NSA would only monitor who and when you are calling someone, not what the phone call says. So if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

  • Before Edward Snowden released classified information about the NSA, there were no harms, only benefits.

    In June of this year, whistleblower Edward Snowden, a worker for the NSA, leaked classified documents about the NSA’s procedures in online and telephone surveillance to a the Guardian, a British newspaper. Before the leak, however, no public knowledge of PRISM, the surveillance program controlled by the NSA, existed. There were no riots protesting a violation of privacy, only benefits. In fact, the NSA stopped numerous terrorist attacks before the leak. One example is that of Najibullah Zazi. He was an Islamic extremist living in Colorado who planned to bomb the New York City subway in 2009. He was traced to al-Qaeda operatives in the Middle East and the NSA discovered about the plot after monitoring him for only a short period of time. Before the leak, the NSA was not harming anyone, and saving countless numbers of lives, unbeknownst to the vast American public. Since 2001, the NSA records more than 50 classified cases of thwarted terrorist plots outweighing any potential harms of surveillance.

  • The risks of terrorist attacks

    Would you rather have the risk of terrorist attacks on this country again or have the government know about that girl you were asking to the movies. If you have nothing to hide then you shouldn't worry. This domestic surveillance is also directed towards non US citizens. They have also already stopeed 54 terrorists plots because of this surveillance therefore the benefits outway bad.

  • Keeps Citizens Safe

    Would you rather have someone listening to a phone call, or have a devastating terrorist attack happen? The NSA is only trying to help. Even though it may be an invasion of privacy, they are still saving lives. Last time I checked, lives are more important than privacy. The NSA has already stopped 56 terrorists plotting an attack on the United States. So, back to my first question, would you rather be checked in every once in a while, or have a terrorist attack that could lead into a war, millions of lives lost, and anything else you can think of. You decide.

  • So long as you've got nothing to hide, why should it even matter?

    Unless you're a wanted terrorist or a criminal, the surveillance really doesn't even apply to you and there's honestly no reason to be afraid. While it might seem a little bit big brother-ish its all for the good of the country as a whole. Its an easy way to weed out potential threats. And even though the NSA is ABLE to read emails, texts etc. That doesn't mean that they necessarily are. They are trying to stalk us they just want the country that we all hold so dear to our hearts to be safe.

  • If you are a good citizen then you don't have to worry

    This law is only to detect tourism and crimes. If you have nothing to do with this then nothing is going to happen to you. Another reason is so the government can detect all the bad crimes before then even happen. All do this law breaks the fourth amendment laws are made to be broken. There are many laws that are broken.

  • Less than 30,000 people work for the NSA. 300 mil people in the US sending calls everyday. Get monitored is like winning the lottery.

    People send tons of phone calls out every day and with over 300 million people in the us your chances of being monitored are low so privacy is not really a concern. Plus the NSA would only look for possible terrorist threats because they don't care what everyone else is saying. They don't have time to track everyone down and they certainly don't know who is calling who. With as many phone calls being sent out per day the NSA has probably never even had their eyes scan over your name or one of your texts.

  • People don't understand the extent to which the government actually monitors calls

    Domestic digital surveillance either focuses on a few data points: if several people appear to be in a network of communication with a known terrorist(s), then their priority is increased. If a group of people have regular correspondence about such things as bombs, guns, terrorist, jihad, etc., then their priority goes up. If someone is consistently or frequently looking up terrorist propaganda sites, bomb making sites, purchasing bomb materials, etc., their priority is upped. If someone is deemed enough of a risk, they are investigated even closer. The data examined is specifically limited to meta data, unless someone is a definite threat. Metadata is very general, just including things like the time, duration, and participants in a phone call, or time and recipients/ sender of an email. If anything, the NSA should lower it's threshold. For example, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber's father called the government repeatedly to warn them of his terroristic intentions and he was ignored. People in outrage generally assume that the government personally reads or listens to all of our phone calls, but not only would this be unfeasible and definitely unconstitutional, but it doesn't make any sense and doesn't happen. For the most part, people don't even handle the data, and the reason that data is kept, even on innocents, is to backtrack connections if future connections do arise. Even if the NSA isn't always successful, they do prevent many terrorist attacks, especially big ones. The best time to stop a terrorist attack is in planning; we can't hope to protect all targets from the actual terrorist actions; for example, airports may be locked down, but they are still easily defeatable, according to TSA representatives and security firms alike. We also don't protect places such as commercial skyscraper lobbies, college campuses, water supplies, etc. However, any terrorist attack on the scale even close to 9-11 needs considerable planning, and the best way to do that is with technology. So, there aren't any real harms, but we do prevent at least most major terrorist attacks. For these reasons, Benefits clearly outweigh the harms of domestic surveillance.

  • What other way is there to monitor the people?

    If the NSA were to not exist, then how exactly would the government monitor what happens in the country? Its not like you are affected on a daily basis because they use your email, you probably don't even know it. And if you are not hiding anything, than how does it affect you? Personally, I like the purpose of the NSA, as it makes me feel more safe and secure in the country, and I'm sure that many other people feel the same way. The chances of the NSA getting hacked are much lower than the chances of a terrorist attack.

  • Privacy is our right

    People may think that we are being selfish, but our privacy is our right and in a society where our personal business can now be exposed on mass medias, our own privacy is very important to us.

    I believe that it isn't fair that since the U.S. is insecure about another attack, we shouldn't have to give up one of the few things we are confident about- or one of the things we used to be confident about.

    I believe that listening or reading conversations between two people is morally wrong, because it's just like spying, and spying is not right. Such as eavesdropping or being nosy, it's just the wrong thing to do.

    If the NSA continues to do this, people will lose self-esteem and confidence, and it's not fair to a countless number of people.

  • These programs do not reap the fruit that they need to!

    There are only 2 concrete examples of terrorist attacks that have been stopped by this. That is not enough of a reason to insure me that it is worth it for me to be giving away all of my peronal life to the government: phone calls, emails, and all other online transactions. If the issue is saving lives than why dosen't the government take action with the main killer of americans per year, alcohol . You are 4,007 more times likely to be killed by alcohol than by a terrorist and yet america spends millions of dollars on the war on terror.

  • Too many costs: Economical and Social

    Economically, the data center that was recently built in Nevada was paid for by taking out a larger tax rate on Americans. Also, fewer people are going to trust the economy. If a person is worried about the government tracking their phone, they won't by a phone.
    Socially, the American people contain fear and mistrust. They fear the government watching them and that leads to mistrust of the government. The government does not even follow it's own rules. The top secret court is an example and how warrants were not issued for this court.

  • It can be better spent

    The money that the NSA uses is $10 billion a year. This money could go to the FBI or the FAS or the CIA and be put to better use. The NSA has stopped 25 attacks in Europe, 13 in the US, 5 in Africa and 11 in Asia. It is the National Security Agency, not the International Security Agency. They need to step up in the self defense or just actually do their job.

  • We shouldn't feel scared.

    It's unnecessary that civilians have to live their life knowing they're being watched without consent. The NSA should be using their time and spending their money on something more useful rather than stalking the lives of harmful people. Why don't they do something about the actual threats and things that have been happening in the world instead of wasting time.

  • No they don't

    These programs do not reap the fruit that they need to! There are only 2 concrete examples of terrorist attacks that have been stopped by this. That is not enough of a reason to insure me that it is worth it for me to be giving away all of my personal life to the government: phone calls, emails, and all other online transactions. If the issue is saving lives than why doesn't the government take action with the main killer of Americans per year, alcohol . You are 4,007 more times likely to be killed by alcohol than by a terrorist and yet america spends millions of dollars on the war on terror.

  • Terrorist are good

    Our society is surviving because of terrorists and we know the debt celing is amazing. Also when Terrorists attack they have reason to beat up some scrubs. Bra do u know some stuff that i said lol whahah mismatch rugs in the room still so full of sweetness and love.

  • They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    Ben Franklin had it right. We are giving up our freedom, for what? How many shootings and attacks still go on while we are being monitored? If they aren't stopping those people why do they even have the right to monitor? We don't have freedom if everything you do you are being watched.

  • Privacy comes first.

    Privacy should be implemented everywhere as people might talk about anything, yes anything. Meaning you. The NSA spies on phone calls, emails, email passwords (as the topic came up), and much more unimaginably sensitive things. Their excuse for all this is, "We need to secure everyone in the country." Is it that the NSA does not trust normal, usual, civilians? If they do spy on anyone, it should be the suspicious and listed.

  • The government may assume and/or take words out of context.

    The government may take our words out of context and twist them so we all sound like terrorists. The government may also accuse foreigners wrongly and put them in prisons and/or kick them out of the country for doing nothing wrong. Also we have a right to have privacy. The government does not need to invade our privacy just because they think we might be terrorists.


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