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< Back to question Has surveillance gone too far? Show more Show less

The Post-9/11 political consensus put a greater emphasis on state surveillance. Increasingly sophisticated technologies gave state actors the power to track and watch ordinary people like never before. While supporters argue that this is a small price to pay for increasing safety and preventing terrorism, others see this as a serious contravention of human rights. Is the extent to which we are now surveilled a step too far?

No, surveillance has not gone too far Show more Show less

There are many benefits to surveillance. Above all, it keeps the country safe.
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Surveillance keeps us safe

Surveillance reduces overall criminal activity. People are less likely to break the law if they run the risk of being watched.
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Context

Surveillance is the key to protecting the mass majority from future events and finding criminals.

The Argument

During the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013, investigators were able to find the two perpetrators within several days because their faces were shown on security footage outside of a department store. They were seen behaving suspiciously on the video. Based on the direction they were headed, they were able to tell which exactly cameras they would be close to next. Without footage that we can rely on, there is no telling how much many more crimes would be committed. In most cases, if someone sees an obvious security camera they will choose not to commit a crime there. With more surveillance, we could see a significant decrease in crime, especially in major cities. Pursuing "lawbreakers" themselves can cause first responders to be harmed. If they can judge a person's motives or location from a video, they can predict where they will be next which saves them from running around the city putting themselves in danger. It even makes it possible for them to arrive somewhere in advance and not be put in the way of danger whatsoever.

Counter arguments

People who make cases against surveillance tend to be the ones who commit crimes themselves. It is quite rare that someone who gets in trouble for surveillance did not actually commit the crime themselves.

Premises

[P1] Surveillance can prevent crimes from happening simply by putting fear into the people. [P2] Using surveillance keeps first responders and military personnel safe.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] This gives the government or various dangerous groups the ability to use it illegally

References


    This page was last edited on Thursday, 16 Jul 2020 at 17:26 UTC

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