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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

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?

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781770898417
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Publication date: 11/08/2014
Series: Munk Debates
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.20(d)

About the Author

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.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ is considered one of America’s preeminent civil liberties lawyers. Until his retirement in December 2013, Dershowitz was the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He has published over one thousand articles in magazines, newspapers, journals, and blogs, and is the author of thirty fiction and non-fiction books.

GLENN GREENWALD is a journalist, a constitutional lawyer, and the author of four New York Times–bestselling books, including No Place to Hide, based on his experiences reporting Edward Snowden’s stunning disclosures on state surveillance. Glenn’s column was featured in the Guardian and Salon, and the reporting he led for the Guardian received the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, “for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.” For that NSA reporting he also received the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting; the Gannett Foundation Award for investigative journalism and the Gannett Foundation Watchdog Journalism Award; and the 2014 Esso Premio for Excellence in Investigative Reporting, the Brazilian equivalent of the Pulitzer. His 2019 reporting won the Vladimir Herzog Award, named after a Jewish immigrant journalist murdered in 1977 by the Brazilian military dictatorship.

ALEXIS OHANIAN is a serial Internet entrepreneur and co-founder of reddit, the social news website used by over 100 million people each month. He is also the author of the national bestseller Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Not Be Managed.

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