Doha Debates– Don't settle for a Divided World
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Podcast / October 31 2023

State of scrutiny: Is mass surveillance justified?

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Facial recognition software. CCTV cameras. License plate readers. Wiretapping. These are all ways that governments employ mass surveillance. Supporters of surveillance technology say these tools are necessary to keep everyone safe. But opponents raise concerns over privacy and human rights abuses. Where do we draw the line? How do we balance individual privacy and collective safety?

Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says our privacy rights are being violated. She cites mass surveillance as yet another example of government overreach and says that it disproportionately targets vulnerable populations, especially people of color. Jamil Jaffer, executive director of the National Security Institute, says that the great majority of people have nothing to worry about, as just a relative few individuals end up on government watch lists. He argues that government surveillance is crucial to our safety and that, at least in the United States, it is much more targeted than people may realize. Listen to the Doha Debates Podcast as these two experts debate liberty, safety, consent and the limits of the law and anonymity in a world with mass surveillance.

Doha Debates Podcast is a production of Doha Debates and FP Studios. This episode is hosted by Joshua Johnson.