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Topic: National Security and the Role of Government: Safety vs. Privacy in a Technological Age
Since the beginning of the 21st century, government surveillance and access to citizens’ private information has climbed to unprecedented levels, from intrusive screenings at the airport to CCTV cameras to domestic drones and data collection. Politicians, law enforcement, and military personnel have defended these security initiatives, saying they are essential in preserving and enhancing national security in a post-9/11 world. Yet, opponents argue that their right to individual privacy is being violated. Can privacy and security co-exist, and which should take precedence? To what extent should governments be allowed to monitor their citizens in the name of protecting the general public, and through what measures? Do these domestic surveillance programs actually keep us safer?
Your essay should draw from modern day events and use historical evidence (as opposed to hypothetical theories). You may examine different methods of surveillance, the extent to which they are used, and how they affect national security and privacy. You may wish to argue whether or not concerns about national security ought to trump individual privacy, what the implications are of future security initiatives, or perhaps examine other questions related to privacy and surveillance. Your examples do not have to be Canadian, but you must support your position with empirical analysis.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 1, 2015
Sponsored by the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation
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