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Does State Spying Make Us Safer?: The Munk Debate on Mass Surveillance
Does State Spying Make Us Safer?: The Munk Debate on Mass Surveillance
Does State Spying Make Us Safer?: The Munk Debate on Mass Surveillance
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Does State Spying Make Us Safer?: The Munk Debate on Mass Surveillance

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Does government surveillance make us safer? The thirteenth Munk Debate, held in Toronto on Friday, May 2, 2014, pitted Michael Hayden and Alan Dershowitz against Glenn Greenwald and Alexis Ohanian to debate whether state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedom — the democratic issue of the moment.

In a risk-filled world, democracies are increasingly turning to large-scale state surveillance, at home and abroad, to fight complex and unconventional threats — but is it justified? For some, the threats more than justify the current surveillance system, and the laws and institutions of democracies are more than capable of balancing the needs of individual privacy with collective security. But for others, we are in peril of sacrificing to a vast and unaccountable state surveillance apparatus the civil liberties that guarantee citizens’ basic freedoms and our democratic way of life.

In this edition of the Munk Debates, former head of the CIA and NSA Michael Hayden and civil liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz square off against journalist Glenn Greenwald and reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian to debate the legitimacy of state surveillance. With issues of Internet privacy increasingly gaining prominence, the Munk Debate on the Surveillance State asks: Should government be able to monitor our activities in order to keep us safe?

Erscheinungsdatum21. Nov. 2014
Does State Spying Make Us Safer?: The Munk Debate on Mass Surveillance
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Michael Hayden

Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general who served as director of the CIA, director of the National Security Agency (NSA), and chief of the Central Service (CSS). General Hayden has also served as the principal deputy director of national intelligence, the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in America.

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    Does State Spying Make Us Safer? - Michael Hayden


    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 t