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Debate Brief: The Right to Privacy Affirmative–Government Accountability.

“Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.” Robin Morgan as he was writing this quote down was indicating that when we withhold information it could lead to power and that power can lead to a corrupt nation, For this Statement I affirm the Resolution, when in Conflict, the Right to Individual privacy is more important than National Security because Individual privacy can limit the government and put the government in check and increase the quality of life

To Clarify the Debate, I am going to provide some key terms,

The Right to privacy: “the qualified legal right of a person to have reasonable privacy in not having his private affairs made known or his likeness exhibited to the public having regard to his habits, mode of living, and occupation “(

National Security: ““the idea that a country must keep its secrets safe and its army strong in order to protect its citizens” (

Resolution Analysis is the government is the Actor. The government is the Actor because the Government can choose either to uphold or enact the Right to Individual Privacy or National Security. I chose the first because the government when they are unlimited in power, it can lead to the corruption of the nation.

Now that my Resolution Analysis, let’s move on to my Value which is the Quality of life the Standard of Living where your basic necessities are met and exceeded. It can be measured by the public health, material well being, and social wellbeing. The Quality of life encompasses the protection of life.

My Criterion is the Government Accountability. An Accountable government is one that protects individual rights of its citizens. best achieved by upholding the Quality of life and keeping the government in Check to its citizens. When the government isn’t accountable to its citizens, it can lead to the abuse of the government’s power and violations of the quality of life.

C#1: When In Conflict, Security over privacy harms QOL (2x)

Analysis: The right to Individual privacy safeguards intellectual freedom and government Accountability, which are essential to quality of life. In contrast, placing security above the right to privacy creates unaccountability that is used to hide government abuses of citizens’ rights. As Seen by the Example of Maher Arar .

For Example, as the wave of the Arab Spring spread to Morocco in 2011 with a series of protests demanding democracy and more accountability from the government, King Mohammed’s regime feared that this “Moroccan Spring” would destabilize the security of the state. In turn, the Government hacked into the websites and email accounts of journalists and activists in order to intimidate them into shutting down a citizen media site that disseminated information about the protests. According to one of the Targeted journalists, (quote) “Knowing your phone conversations are constantly listened to is disturbing. It restrains my private life.” (End quote) When the government tramples individual privacy in the name of national Security, it empowers the government to suffocate free speech, which creates a toxic environment for democracy and greatly compromises the quality of life.

Thankfully, there’s a compelling alternative, which leads me to my Second Contention.

C#2: When in Conflict, respecting privacy greatly upholds the Quality of life (2xs)

Analysis: When privacy is valued above security, it balances the power dynamic and creates a check against government overreach. The Risk of abuse of a limited government pales in comparison to the risk of abuse of placing security above our rights, i.e big government.

Application: the Netherlands

In March of 2015, The Dutch decided to suspend a metadata surveillance law that would have violated privacy, because it would have required the government to store metadata for police to abuse the citizen’s right to privacy. According to the Open-Net Initiative, the Netherlands has little to no surveillance and is atop the Human development index which measures the quality of life. According to the Reporters Without Borders 2013 List of “State Enemies of the Internet,” the countries of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, China, and North Korea conduct the most surveillance on their citizens and, as a result, repress the people’s rights.

These Facts indicate that extensive government erosion of individual privacy rights breeds an environment toxic to political and Intellectual freedom. On the other hand, valuing privacy higher creates accountability which safeguards the quality of life.

C#3: When in Conflict, Individual privacy is more important than national Security

Analysis: Since every nation is always plausibly under some security threat, writing the government a blank check to trample privacy rights for the sake of security paves the road to tyrannical government. Perpetual state surveillance turns society into something resembling Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon – that is, a circular prison structure with one man standing at the center who surveils the prisoners. A tinted glass surrounds his outpost, so he can see them, but they cannot see him; they are sentenced to live under the constant specter of an all-seeing eye whose gaze may fall upon them at any moment. Bentham designed this prison structure to command obedience through fear.

In Conclusion, Allowing the guise of national security to trump privacy rights gives the government the keys to the panoptic-on, giving it unchecked power to make us all prisoners of its surveillance. In the words of German Historian Hubertus Knabe, (quote) “The Stasi didn’t try to Arrest every dissident, it preferred to paralyze them, and it could do so because it had accesses to so much personal information.”(end quote)  Because valuing privacy rights places an immovable roadblock on this road to tyranny, it best upholds Quality of life, which why I stand Resolved: That When in Conflict the Right to individual privacy is more important than national Security.” 

What do you think about? I would love to hear your thoughts and any counters.

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