Munk Debate on Mass Surveillance Does State Spying Make Us Safer Video Paper


Question Description

Review the video and transcript of the ‘Munk Debate on Mass Surveillance: Does State Spying Make Us Safer?’ held May 2014. The video is located on YouTube at EIV7IkOlI and the Munk Debate website at (note: registration is required but Basic access is free). Additionally, both the transcript and audio podcast are available


● Provide your own opinions and impressions of the material presented,

● Draw your own conclusions,

● Reference to the speakers must be included, however, the use of additional references is allowed but not


● Paper body length must be from 20-25 pages, NOT including Title page, Abstract page, References and

Appendices (if any)

Please use the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (see This writing format is a requirement for the paper along with proper English grammar and spelling.

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**TRANSCRIPT** Video available at (updated link) DOES STATE SPYING MAKE US SAFER? THE MUNK DEBATE ON MASS SURVEILLANCE May 2, 2014 Toronto, Ontario FEATURING EXCLUSIVE COMMENTARY FROM EDWARD SNOWDEN PRO: MICHAEL HAYDEN/ALAN DERSHOWITZ CON: GLENN GREENWALD/ALEXIS OHANIAN 1   A LETTER FROM PETER MUNK Since we started the Munk Debates, my wife, Melanie, and I have been deeply gratified at how quickly they have captured the public’s imagination. From the time of our first event in May 2008, we have hosted what I believe are some of the most exciting public policy debates in Canada and internationally. Global in focus, the Munk Debates have tackled a range of issues, such as humanitarian intervention, the effectiveness of foreign aid, the threat of global warming, religion’s impact on geopolitics, the rise of China, and the decline of Europe. These compelling topics have served as intellectual and ethical grist for some of the world’s most important thinkers and doers, from Henry Kissinger to Tony Blair, Christopher Hitchens to Paul Krugman, Peter Mandelson to Fareed Zakaria. The issues raised at the Munk Debates have not only fostered public awareness, but they have also helped many of us become more involved and, therefore, less intimidated by the concept of globalization. It is so easy to be inward-looking. It is so easy to be xenophobic. It is so easy to be nationalistic. It is hard to go into the unknown. Globalization, for many people, is an abstract concept at best. The purpose of this debate series is to help people feel more familiar with our fast-changing world and more comfortable participating in the universal dialogue about the issues and events that will shape our collective future. I don’t need to tell you that there are many, many burning issues. Global warming, the plight of extreme poverty, genocide, or our shaky financial order — these are just a few of the critical issues that matter to people. And it seems to me, and to my foundation board members, that the quality of the public dialogue on these critical issues diminishes in direct proportion to the salience and number of issues clamouring for our attention. By trying to highlight the most important issues at crucial moments in the global conversation, these debates not only profile the ideas and opinions of some of the world’s brightest thinkers, but they also crystallize public passion and knowledge, helping to tackle some of the challenges confronting humankind. I have learned in life — and I’m sure many of you will share this view — that challenges bring out the best in us. I hope you’ll agree that the participants in these debates challenge not only each other but also each of us to think clearly and logically about important problems facing our world. Peter Munk Founder, Aurea Foundation Toronto, Ontario   2   INTRODUCTION BY RUDYARD GRIFFITHS – MODERATOR/ORGANIZER State surveillance is the controversy of our time, combining fast- changing technology, the ongoing revolution in how we communicate with each other, the power and responsibility of nation-states to defend themselves, and our deep-seated, personal expectations for privacy — it engages a host of the major tenets that make up our modern way of life. This is why it was an obvious choice for the Munk Debates to dedicate one of its semi-annual contests to bringing together the most trenchant and salient commentators on state surveillance today for a no-holds- barred discussion. The resolution before the three thousand attendees who filled Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall to capacity was as stark as it was significant: “Be it resolved: state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms.” Speaking for the resolution, in his first-ever public debate, was General Michael Hayden. Considered by many to be the chief architect of the sophisticated surveillance programs that evolved in the post-9/11 era, General Hayden led both the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under President George W. Bush. Throughout the debate, he displayed his unparalleled knowledge of the inner workings and larger policy objectives of America’s surveillance networks. In this regard, readers will want to pay special attention to his fascinating account of the 9/11 terrorists and how, in his view, a robust regime of state surveillance such as the one America has today could have helped foil such an attack. To quote Michael Hayden from the debate: “Terrorism is a big deal, but we do [mass surveillance] for lots of good, legitimate reasons. . . . if this metadata program — which is about terrorism, because the only reason you can use metadata is to stop terror attacks, no other purpose — had been in place we would have known that Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al- Mihdhar, two of the muscle guys on the plane planning to hit the Pentagon, were in San Diego.” Completing the two-person “pro” team on the debate stage was celebrated legal scholar, trial lawyer, and civil liberties champion professor Alan Dershowitz. Why would one of the most prominent civil libertarians of our time chose to argue that state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms? For Professor Dershowitz the debate is not one of absolutes. As he argued throughout the two-hour contest, the challenge at hand is striking a balance, enshrined in law and overseen by the courts and Congress, between the privacy rights of individuals and the immense advantage surveillance programs give democratic societies facing complex, unconventional, and sophisticated terrorist threats. He believes our courts, democratic legislatures, and public servants are up to this challenge and that accountable, measured, and legally rigorous state surveillance is a necessary and achievable goal: “I sincerely believe that surveillance, properly conducted and properly limited, can really and genuinely protect our liberties. No state has ever survived without surveillance, and no state deserves to survive if it has too much surveillance, particularly against its own citizens. A balance has to be struck, but that balance cannot eliminate the power of government to obtain information necessary to the defence of our freedoms.” One formidable team of debaters deserves another, and here the Munk Debate on state surveillance did not disappoint. Arguing that state surveillance is not a legitimate defence of our freedoms was Glenn Greenwald, the investigative journalist at the centre of the Edward Snowden leaks that exposed America’s “surveillance state” to the world. Greenwald is currently a columnist and lead writer for The Intercept, an online clearing house for Snowden’s trove of data on the U.S. National Security Agency. He has been lauded by the Financial Times as the “most famous journalist of his generation,” and Foreign Policy magazine singled him out as one of their 100 Leading Global Thinkers for 2013.   3   Throughout the debate Glenn Greenwald demonstrated his trademark fluency with the legal, technological, and historical intricacies of mass surveillance programs in the United States and around the world. A passionate advocate for the sanctity of privacy rights in the face of corporate and state encroachment, Glenn Greenwald used the debate to paint a dark picture of a pervasive surveillance bureaucracy operating with little if any substantial legal or civilian oversight in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, all of which are relentlessly collecting massive amounts of electronic data about people’s intimate lives and conversations for analysis and detection. Glenn Greenwald reiterated his belief that mass, Internet-based surveillance of individuals was especially pernicious and that its effects on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly would prove chilling: “Over and over in the documents of the NSA we find not these mild paeans about the need for targeted surveillance, but the opposite. It is aggressive, boasting about the system of indiscriminate, suspicionless surveillance that they have constructed in the dark. Entire populations, hundreds of millions of people who are guilty of nothing, have their communications routinely monitored, surveilled, and stored.” The second debater arguing against the resolution brought his own unique perspective to the contest as a serial technology entrepreneur and fervent believer in the social goods that flow from an open and progressive Internet. Alexis Ohanian is the co-founder of reddit, the social news website used by 100 million people each month. For two years in a row he has been named to Forbes’ prestigious “30 under 30: Technology” list. Alexis Ohanian’s contribution to the debate was to make the case for how widespread state surveillance affects the Internet itself and could threaten many of the characteristics of the World Wide Web that make it a transformative force for good in societies large and small. To quote Alexis Ohanian in his opening statement: “I could never have started reddit with the hope of it becoming a truly global platform if we thought we didn’t have access to everyone with an Internet connection. The Internet works better the more people that are on it. But intelligence agencies have created an environment that is increasingly insecure for users, with the purpose of hopefully being able to take advantage of these security flaws for surveillance somewhere down the road.” Whatever preconceived notions anyone may have about this debate, readers will find the battle of wits between Michael Hayden, Glenn Greenwald, Alan Dershowitz, and Alexis Ohanian a refreshingly accessible and sophisticated exploration of whether or not state surveillance is in our collective interest. An analysis of the debate as a whole reveals that the state of public trust stands out as the key issue that animated our contest and what ultimately nudges opinion into either the “pro” or “con” camp. Do we trust that the systems of checks and balances built into our legislatures, courts, and bureaucracies (civil and military) are up to the task of managing and deploying the awesome technological powers of electronic state surveillance for our collective safety and benefit? Or is the very existence of mass government systems for data collection and analysis itself a corrosive social phenomenon, seeping through the body politic and eroding the trust between individuals and governments required to sustain the expectation of privacy in our technological age? The reading of this debate in its entirety and the companion interviews with each of the four protagonists will not definitively answer these questions, but they will, without a doubt, get you thinking about the swirl of issues and ideas that surround the debate over state surveillance in new and unexpected ways.   4   Does State Spying Make Us Safer? Pro: Michael Hayden and Alan Dershowitz Con: Glenn Greenwald and Alexis Ohanian May 2, 2014 Toronto, Ontario THE MUNK DEBATE ON MASS SURVEILLANCE RUDYARD GRIFFITHS: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Welcome to this extraordinary debate on state surveillance. My name is Rudyard Griffiths, and it’s my privilege to act as the organizer of this semi-annual series and to once again serve as your moderator. I want to start tonight’s proceedings by welcoming the North America–wide television and radio audience tuning into this debate, everywhere from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to CPAC, Canada’s public affairs channel, to C-SPAN across the continental United States. A warm hello also to the thousands of people watching this debate live online on The Intercept and the Munk Debates web sites. It’s terrific to have you as virtual participants in tonight’s proceedings. And finally, hello to you, the over three thousand people who have once again filled Roy Thomson Hall to capacity for a Munk Debate. We thank you for your enthusiasm for the goal to which this series is dedicated: bringing big thinkers together to debate the big issues transforming Canada and the world. The presence of the four outstanding thinkers on this stage momentarily to discuss the topic of state surveillance would not be possible without the generosity of our hosts for the evening. Please join me in showing our appreciation for the Aurea Foundation and its co- founders, Peter and Melanie Munk. Now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Let’s get our debaters out on stage and our debate underway. Speaking for the motion, “Be it resolved: state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms,” is acclaimed trial lawyer, Harvard scholar, and storied civil libertarian, Professor Alan Dershowitz. Joining Professor Dershowitz on the pro side of tonight’s debate is none other than Michael Hayden, the former head of the National Security Agency and the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency. He’s also a retired four-star U.S. general. Now, one great team of debaters deserves another, and we have not let you down tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome serial technology entrepreneur, the co-founder of the global social news phenomenon reddit and bestselling author, Alexis Ohanian. Alexis’s partner tonight is a person who has been at the very centre of this global debate since Edward Snowden stunned the world last June with his unprecedented exposé on America’s Internet cyber-espionage programs. In the ensuing year our presenter has become, in the words of the Financial Times of London, the most famous journalist of his generation, ladies and gentlemen, First Look Media’s Glenn Greenwald. But before I call on our debaters for their opening statements, I would like to go over a housekeeping point, which is important for those of you in the hall. When you see our dastardly countdown clock appear on the screens at the end of the allotted time for opening statements, rebuttals, and closing statements, please join me in a round of applause for our speakers. This is going to keep them on their toes and, of course, our debate on time.   5   Now, let’s find out how all of you, the three thousand of you, voted at the outset of this evening’s debate on the resolution, “Be it resolved: state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms.” The results are: 33 percent agree, 46 percent disagree, and 21 percent are undecided. So, this debate is definitely in play. Our second question will help us figure out how many of the three thousand people in this hall are open to changing their vote in the next hour and a half. Let’s have those numbers. Wow — 87 percent of this audience are open to changing their vote — a very flexible crowd. Only 13 percent of you are committed resolutely to the “pro” or the “con” side. Now it’s time to see which one of these teams can sway public opinion. As per convention, the “pro” side will speak first, with six minutes for each opening remark. General Hayden, the floor is yours. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Thanks for the introduction and the warm welcome. After I read your morning newspaper and saw that Alan and I were identified as two of the most pernicious human beings on the planet, I just wasn’t really sure how welcoming you would be. State surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms. We all know the answer to that — it depends. It depends on facts. It depends on the totality of circumstances in which we find ourselves. What kind of surveillance? For what kind of purposes? In what kind of state of danger? And that’s why facts matter. In having this debate, in trying to decide whether this surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedom, we really need to know exactly what this surveillance is. And I freely admit, it’s hard. This stuff has been pushed out into the world in a way that is unclear. Sometimes it’s been presented in a way that is just wrong. Let me give you an example. Information was leaked into the public domain about a program called Boundless Informant. If I were thinking of names that would eventually become public, it is probably not one I would pick. It was a heat map of the world that showed the metadata events that the NSA had acquired in one way or another. And the map also revealed tens of millions of metadata events that NSA was getting from France, Spain, and Norway. So the story immediately became, “These guys are checking the call logs of a whole bunch of Europeans.” The reality of the story was that French, Spanish, and Norwegian intelligence services were providing the NSA with metadata that their respective services had collected in internationally recognized theatres of armed conflict, not in Europe. It was a team effort, but it got rolled out very much as an aggressive, individual effort on the part of the NSA. These situations are complicated and people often incorrectly assume the most ominous possible thing is happening behind closed doors. Do you remember something called the PRISM program that allowed the NSA to access materials on Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft servers in the United States — materials affiliated with a legitimate intelligence target? It was described in the media as “the NSA is free- ranging on the servers of Google and Microsoft and Yahoo.” It was portrayed as uncontrolled NSA exploration of this data, which was incredibly wrong. The Washington Post was one of the papers that presented it in that way, and they ended up correcting it on their web site several days later, without notifying people that the article had been changed.   6   But let’s skip all that for now. Let’s try to get to the hard truth and boil down what CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada) is doing here, what the NSA’s doing across the lake, what the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) is doing in Great Britain, and what the ASD (Australian Signals Directorate) is doing in Australia. Even then you’ve got a problem, because you’re walking into a movie theatre late in the third reel and you’re looking at a scene, a snapshot of the film, and you’re saying, “Aha! The butler did it!” Actually, you need to go back and look at the whole movie. You need to see what went on before, because if you know what happened earlier you might have a different interpretation of what it is you think the butler is guilty of. There are a few things that the NSA and all these other security organizations have tried to solve. One of them is the war with volume: How do you conduct signals and intelligence to keep you safe in a tsunami of global communications? The answer is bulk collection and metadata. Critics suggest the NSA is “mucking about in those global telecommunication grids that have your emails,” but no one complained when the NSA was eavesdropping on Soviet strategic forces’ microwave rocket signals. The more modern equivalent of those Soviet microwave signals are proliferator, terrorist, narco-trafficker, moneylaunderer emails, coexisting with yours and mine out there in Gmail. And if you want the NSA or CSEC to continue to keep you safe, it is going to involve jumping into the stream where your data is stored. After 9/11, the enemy was inside my country. Even when the enemy wasn’t in my country, his communications were, since most emails reside on servers in the United States. An email from a bad man in Pakistan communicating to a bad man in Yemen should not deserve constitutional protection. The PRISM program is what allowed us to access those emails and what allowed us to keep everyone safe. There’s a lot more to talk about, but you’re going to start clapping in about nine seconds, so I’m going to go back to the podium. Thank you. RUDYARD GRIFFITHS: The commanding presence of a four-star general. It’s bred in the bone. Alexis Ohanian, you ar ...
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Tutor Answer

School: UC Berkeley



Does State Spying Make Us Safer OUTLINE
Institutional Affiliation




The debate dubbed “Be it resolved: State surveillance is a legitimate defense of our
freedoms” organized by Rudyard Griffiths is a very interesting and informative debate
that depicts the “pro” and “con” sides of state surveillance.

This is an opinionated paper trying to examine the point of views presented by all the

The focus of this paper is mainly on the validity and credibility of the information
delivered by all the debaters.

Opinions and Impressions of the Material

The arguments, rebuttals, and counterarguments presented in the material or basically by
all the debaters are very convincing, reasonable and realistic.

Starting with Hayden, he used his experiences he acquired while working both at NSA
and CIA to justify the need for state surveillance.

The arguments by Hayden are factual and based on well-researched point of view.

It is undeniable that terrorism is a big deal and government using mass surveillance to
thwart any form of attacks is necessary.

Dershowitz presented convincing arguments and evidence that go in line with Hayden’s
point of view.

The suggestion by Dershowitz that there is a need to balance between privacy and state
surveillance is understandable especially in the modern world where trends of terrorism
are increasing.

Greenwald presents very interesting and informative “con” arguments on the debate.



As argued by Greenwald, internet-based surveillance used by the state undermines the
freedom of assembly and freedom of speech of citizens.

Ohanian offers riveting and compelling arguments against state surveillance.

Ohanian properly reinforces his arguments by touching on the cost-benefit of state

Hayden demonstrated a huge adept to security intelligence when explaining the
controversial PRISM program.

Hayden further demonstrated a mastery of the topic by highlighting the misconceptions
by critics that the NSA is mucking about global communication grids.

The underlying information presented by Hayden is persuasive and based on reasonable

The argument by Hayden that enemies or terrorists tend to have a chain of networks both
within and outside the U.S is very true.

The Boston bombing incident cited by Hayden depicts how state surveillance is

Although the founding document of the country supports liberty, life, and pursuit of
happiness, Hayden shed light on the importance of balancing between the three because
they tend to be competitive.

Right to privacy, an idea supported by Ohanian is very important in safeguarding the
confidential information of every citizen.

Although Ohanian advocates for totality in terms of privacy, he failed to consider the fact
that the privacy of the citizens can also be compromised by independent actors.



The argument by Ohanian that “there is national security in economic security” is
reasonable enough.

Mass surveillance indeed undermines privacy but the benefit of mass surveillance
exceeds the harm.

Looking from the past decades, the NSA tends to have an insatiable appetite for data as
argued by Ohanian.

Through state surveillance, the internet is not compromised but rather it is improved.

Because we are living in a world where terrorists come up with new ways of advancing
their activities, a little internet balkanization is necessary.

State surveillance has not created an insecure environment for users as purported by
Ohanian, but rather it has improved the security of the citizens.

Ohanian presents a valid observation when he argues that bad actors can take advantage
of the flaws in the system used to make citizens safe.

A trade-off between privacy and security is necessary.

To ensure civil liberties of the citizens, state surveillance is necessary. Even though
Dershowitz has devoted his life to safeguard privacy and civil liberties, he believes that
no state can survive without state surveillance. This argument by Dershowitz is sensible
and well-thought. Without surveillance, citizens of a country are more susceptible to
attacks. As advocated by Dershowitz, it is important to strike a balance between the
power of the government to undertake surveillance and citizens’ rights to privacy. It is
important to distinguish between the need for a safer society and citizens’ rights to



To a certain degree, Dershowitz is right when he suggested a proper procedure for
deciding when surveillance is justified.

Dershowitz is right that matters of degree are important.

The issue of Ku Klux Klan raised by Dershowitz is valid in juxtaposing how people react
to state surveillance.

The argument by Dershowitz that state surveillance is important in understanding what
enemies both internal and external are planning against a country is very true.

Dershowitz offers a realistic point of view when he suggests that security agencies need
to balance between the need for preventive intelligence and the need to safeguard the
privacy of citizens.

Dershowitz presents a valid perspective on the concept of liberty and the need for the
security of citizens.

If state surveillance is scrapped as suggested by Ohanian, citizens according to
Dershowitz cannot enjoy the benefits of surveillance as were witnessed during the Cold
War and Fascism era.

From the NSA’s leaked documents cited by Greenwald, it is clear that the NSA had
sometimes used the information for other activities that are not related to security.

The activities of the NSA and other security agencies are in most cases misunderstood.

A need for targeted surveillance as suggested by Hayden is not achievable with the
current strategies employed by the NSA.

By citing a federal court ruling of December 2013, Greenwald managed to show how
state surveillance violates the privacy rights of millions of Americans.

Collecting bulk information for just security is a little bit obscure.



Although Hayden agrees that internet balkanization is a human tragedy, he uses
diversionary tactics to divulge the responsibility of the U.S to protect citizens from the
effects of internet balkanization.

Greenwald has somewhat proved that state surveillance is not necessary.

Because the United States was found on the fundamental principles of safeguarding the
right of citizens to privacy and a right to freedom, technological advancement as argued
by Ohanian has undermined these main fundamental rights of citizens.

Contrary to the statement by Hayden that “If they had prior information that the
perpetrators were in San Diego they would have kicked them out”, various reports have
indicated that the NSA had prior information of the impending attack.

Own Conclusions

State surveillance is necessary and also a right to privacy and the right to security of
citizens are also necessary.

Limits need to be put on how the state collects information.

Surveillance does a good job in reducing crimes or terrorism but cannot fully eradicate

Every citizen is entitled to privacy as stipulated in the constitution.

Reduction in crimes with the use of surveillance is synonymous to a huge reduction in
police work and even by extension the number of police officers needed to maintain law
and order. In a total-surveillance society, there would be no need for manpower to
investigate who committed a crime and when.



If cross-border surveillance becomes effective and ubiquitous, there is a possibility of a
reduction in the $1.5 trillion that countries around the world spend every year.

When a crime has transpired surveillance is a vital component of the investigative

Even though state surveillance is necessary, collecting sensitive personal data such as
DNA, health status, and intimacy is extreme.

In a nutshell, combating terrorism is a law enforcement activity which employs
data/information collection and processing.


Hayden, H., Dershowitz, A., Greenwald, G., & Ohanian, A. (2014). Does State Spying Make Us
Safer: The Munk Debate On Mass Surveillance. Roy Thomson Hall.
Lippert, R. K. (2015). Thinking about law and surveillance. Surveillance & Society, 13(2), 292294.
Lippert, R. K., & Newell, B. C. (2016). Debate introduction: the privacy and surveillance
implications of police body cameras. Surveillance & Society, 14(1), 113-116.





Does State Spying Make Us Safer
Institutional Affiliation





The debate dubbed “Be it resolved:...

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Thanks, good work

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