1. WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS?
B R Y A N G A S T O N
H E R I T A G E H A L L S C H O O L
O K L A H O M A C I T Y , O K
2 0 1 5 - 2 0 1 6
Policy Topic Analysis
2. The Order
1. Resolution and Key Terms
2. Historical Background
3. Affirmative Advantages/Harms
5. Negative Disadvantages,
Counterplans, and Kritiks
3. The Resolution and Key Terms
Resolved: The United States
federal government should
substantially curtail its
4. Resolution and Key Terms
United States federal government-the executive,
legislative and judicial branches of the federal
governments of the United States.
You will likely see cases that use executive action,
congressional action, or judicial action.
The case for why your specific actor matters when
debating the surveillance topic!
5. Resolution and Key Terms
Curtail-reduce in extent or quantity; impose a
Its-possessive form of it. (must be USFG domestic
surveillance—excludes foreign, state and local
6. Resolution and Key Terms
Domestic-of or relating to one’s own or a particular
country as apart from other countries.
Surveillance-continuous observation of a place,
person, group, or ongoing activity in order to gather
A “domestic surveillance” definition?
7. “Domestic Surveillance” Precise Definition
Small 8 [“His Eyes are Watching You: Domestic Surveillance, Civil Liberties
and Executive Power during Times of National Crisis,” MATTHEW L.
SMALL, United States Air Force Academy, 2008
Domestic surveillance is a subset of intelligence gathering.
Intelligence, as it is to be understood in this context, is
“information that meets the stated or understood needs of
policy makers and has been collected, processed and
narrowed to meet those needs” (Lowenthal 2006, 2). In
essence, domestic surveillance is a means to an end; the
end being intelligence. The intelligence community best
understands domestic surveillance as the acquisition of
nonpublic information concerning United States persons
(Executive Order 12333 (3.4) (i)). With this definition
domestic surveillance remains an overly broad concept.
8. Historical Background
1791--4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights protects
citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures.”
security vs. liberty balance
1967—Katz v. United States: 4th Amendment does
protect non-tangible possessions such as phone calls
and electronic transmissions. It establishes
“reasonable expectation of privacy” in homes, office,
hotel rooms, and warrants are necessary for
surveillance of those spaces.
9. Historical Background
1968—Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act:
restricts wiretapping but allows executive exception
if in service of protecting the United States.
1972—Nixon is impeached (wiretapping and theft of
1978—Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA):
creates secret court to hear requests for warrants to
obtain foreign intelligence information.
1986—Electronic Comm Privacy Act (ECPA): adds
wireless data and communications to OCSSA Act.
10. Historical Background
2001—Wake of 9/11, Patriot Act: changes to FISA
and ECPA including easing wiretapping restrictions.
Section 215 allows sharing of “any tangible thing” as
part of foreign intelligence or international terrorism
2006—Patriot Act Renewed
2007—Protect America Act: amends FISA by
removing warrant requirement for surveillance of
foreign targets “reasonably believed” to be outside
the US. President Bush issues 1st National Strategy
for Information Sharing (NSI)
11. Historical Background
2008—FISA Amendments Act: allows immunity for
telecom companies that cooperate with government
informational gathering and more.
2011—Extension of the Patriot Act
2012—Congress extends FISA Amendments Act
while the New York times has be reporting on over
collection of data by the USFG for years.
2013—Snowden happens, PRISM revealed to public,
1st ruling against NSA’s surveillance program handed
down by Federal District Court for DC. The program
is allowed to exist while Congress reforms the law.
12. Historical Background
2014—President Obama announced reforms to the
surveillance program based on an advisory panel
commissioned in 2013 to evaluate the NSA.
The reforms he outlined include: requiring NSA analysts
to get a court order to access phone data unless in cases
of emergencies; an eventual end to the collection of
massive amounts of metadata by the government; the
NSA will stop eavesdropping on leaders of allied nations;
officials can pursue a phone number linked to a terrorist
association by two degrees rather than three; and
Congress will appoint advocates to argue on the side of
civil liberties before the FISA court.
13. Historical Background
2015—2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled in May
that Congress never authorized the bulk collection of phone records
in the Patriot Act so the NSA program is illegal. They said it may
continue but they called on Congress to amend the law.
June 2nd USA Freedom Act: The act ends the NSA's bulk collection
of phone records of millions of Americans. That responsibility shifts
to the phone companies, who can turn the data over to the
government only when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
issues a warrant to search the phone records of individuals. The law
also reinstates three provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which
expired on June 1: roving wiretaps of terror suspects who change
devices, surveillance of "lone wolf" suspects who are not affiliated
with a terrorist organization, and the seeking of court orders to
search business records.
14. Affirmative Advantages/Harms
Democracy/Tyranny: Path to totalitarianism,
weaken democratic norms, international modeling
vs. domestic decline
Racism and Religious Discrimination:
Disproportionate targeting of specific groups
A. 1st Amendment—Speech, press, right to assemble and petition
B. 4th Amendment—Unreasonable searches and seizures
C. 14th Amendment—Due process and equal protection
15. Affirmative Advantages/Harms
Economy: Foreign companies and countries
concerns over US corporation compliance with USFG
Foreign Relations: Many countries are angry about
US surveillance. Possible International Law internal
US Hegemony: Accessed via soft power or hard
16. Affirmative Advantages/Harms
Securitization: State transforms subjects into
matters of security, an extreme form of politicization
Biopolitics: Social and political power over life
Ethics of Privacy
Internet Security (US infrastructure trust)
17. Potential Plans/Cases
Mass Surveillance Program Cases
Surveillance State Repeal Act (Patriot Act and FISA
Amendments Act of 08)
Stricter requirements for access/warrants
Private company can collect but no NSA
FISA court regulations
End a specific program like PRISM (corporations
giving data to the USFG)
18. Potential Plans/Cases
Smart Video Surveillance-learn what’s “normal”
Civilian Encryption Protection
Just scratching surface…
19. Potential Plans/Cases
Social Monitoring Affs
End Muslim and Arab Targeting
End Surveilling of the Black Body
Protest Group Infiltration-specific group
FBI Searches and CONTELPRO
Education Tracking Programs
20. Negative Disadvantages
Terrorism or Intelligence DA
Political Capital DA
Executive Power Good DA
A. Court Politics-how they rule in future case
based on Aff plan ruling
B. Judicial Activism-SOP and Legitimacy
21. Negative Counterplans
Agent CP Debate: Courts vs. Executive Action vs.
Congress vs. States
Regulate/Limit vs. Eliminate surveillance CP
Private Oversight Boards/Commissions CP
22. Negative Kritiks
Critical Legal Studies: law is indeterminate
Feminism: Privacy increases abuses of patriarchy
Race Kritiks: Must resolve this before we fix the law
or reforms will fail
Foucault: Reforms leads to a population more willing
to be surveilled by other means increasing biopower
Capitalism: Various links
Security: Will likely link to Affs that impose
restrictions to make surveillance less controversial
Various other K’s will emerge…
This is a current and timely topic so lots of information is
available. It’s very student friendly for researching.
Don’t forget the National Debate Coaches Association will
upload camp files for free access as they receive them.
The National Speech and Debate Association will have more
resources about policy debate and the topic in the future.
Feel free to contact me with questions or just to brainstorm
about the topic:
Bryan Gaston, Head Debate Coach, Heritage Hall School, OKC OK