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Should blackmail be legal?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/28/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 473 times Debate No: 114561
Debate Rounds (3)
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Unless information is protected under certain circumstances, such as non-disclosure agreements, it is perfectly legal to reveal hidden information. Why then is it illegal to demand money under threat of revealing hidden information?

Usually the hidden information in question is negative information about the blackmail "victim". The "victim" is usually guilty of severe enough wrongdoing to merit blackmail, i.e adultery, fraud, etc. Why should the "victim" of blackmail be protected when they are usually guilty of whatever it is the blackmailer is threatening them with? If the "victim" had nothing to hide, blackmail would be ineffective. Normally, people who have blackmail-worthy secrets deserve to have their secrets revealed. Innocent people are virtually immune to blackmail since they have nothing to hide. The only "victims" of blackmail are guilty people.

Why is blackmail illegal? Why is it legal for someone to reveal hidden information but it is not legal to request money under threat of revealing said hidden information?


Why is rape illegal?

Sex is legal, so why do we have to ask?

Same principle.

I would suggest that rape and blackmail are all about violation and violation is illegal.
Debate Round No. 1


That's an absurd comparison. I have the legal right to reveal any secrets I know about you as long as they are not protected (as with non-disclosure agreements mentioned in my OP). I already have the legal right to reveal your secrets, with or without your consent. In no situation do I have the right to have sex with someone without their consent. Your argument that they're "both violations" fail as it is a perfectly legal "violation" to reveal your secrets. If you had an affair, I have the legal freedom to tell everyone about it. I have the right to "violate" you in this way.

A better comparison would be prostitution. It's legal to have sex, and it's legal to give someone money - but for some reason it's not legal to give someone money for sex. That would be a far better comparison. The thing is... I believe prostitution should be legal as well. So there goes that hypothetical argument.

Do you have any better arguments than your terribly flawed rape comparison?


"Should blackmail be legal?" A simple argument.

Blackmail is primarily about extortion and not just about revealing hidden secrets or information.

Extortion is violation. Just as non-consensual sex is violation.

What you are seeking to debate is the validity of legislation, with regard to the freedom of access or suppression of information.

Two completely separate issues. Your question is not relative to your reasoning and therefore your whole proposition is flawed.

Prostitution is another issue again. It's associated legislation is based on collective ethics and assumed morality.
Debate Round No. 2


the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.

Strictly speaking, lawsuits and denial of service are forms of extortion. The only difference is that the threats are legal threats. You have the right to threaten someone by taking them to court (force). A contractor has the right to threaten to cease any work on a project unless he is paid (threat). A landlord has the right to threaten eviction if you do not pay your rent. As you can see, simply labeling it "extortion" doesn't cut it because some modes of force or threat should be within our right. Strictly speaking, blackmail is not forcing you to pay anything. You have the choice to not pay, but then you'll have to face the consequences of your secrets being revealed.

Regarding the threat aspect - typically, threats are legal as long as what we are threatening with is also legal. I cannot threaten you with physical violence because physical violence is illegal in and of itself. Someone can, however, threaten to break up with their boyfriend if he doesn't get a job for example, as breaking up is legal in and of itself. But for some reason, it's illegal to threaten someone with revealing secrets, despite the fact that revealing secrets is legal in and of itself? Why?

"What you are seeking to debate is the validity of legislation, with regard to the freedom of access or suppression of information. Two completely separate issues."
- In what way are they different?


I simply refer voters to my second round.

Specifically the fact that Pro's question isn't relative to their reasoning.

Pro basically want's to discuss semantics, with regard to freedom of information.

When blackmail is prosecuted under the law. It is the acts of extortion and violation that are being prosecuted, not the act of suppressing information.
Debate Round No. 3
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