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Spartan DebateTopic 2015: Getting Started

Debate Topic

Spartan Debate Topic 2015

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially curtail its domestic surveillance.

Basic Resources

Spartan Debate Institute

Spartan Debate Institutes on Facebook

Debate Central : The National Center for Policy Analysis, a bipartisan public policy research organization, provides relevant resources, articles, web sites and discussion forums for the debate's main themes.  Waiting to see if website includes information about current debate topic ((5/27/15)

Pro Analysis

Con Analysis

BauschardDebate. Includes numerous resources, including pro and con information.  Note: some resources require subscription.

Issue Guide : The Domestic Surveillance Debate.  Courtesy of the Council of Foreign Relations.

Selected Films

The Art of Debate : Never Lose an Argument Again.  In this episode of PODIUM, former debate champions and top-ranked coaches explain what it takes to become a master debater at any level and discuss the life-long benefits of honing this important public speaking skill. Follow their advice and never back down from a verbal duel again. 

Brian Knappenberger, "Why care about the N.S.A.?", New York Times Opinion, November 26, 2013.  A short film explores whether ordinary Americans should be concerned about online surveillance.

Journalists and the NSA Scandal.  October 12, 2013.  Courtes of CATO Institute.

Legal Challenges to NSA Abuse.  October 11, 2013.   Courtesy of CATO Institute.

Deconstructing the Surveillance State.  Courtesy of CATO Institute.  If the government’s been spying on us for decades, what’s new now? Why is bulk data collection so particularly nefarious? What is metadata anyway, and what does the government do with it? Does the government actually catch terrorists through mass surveillance? Why do people treat terrorism differently from other violent crimes? The defenders of surveillance say that “if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to be afraid of,” but does this justification hold water?

United States of Secrets / (Frontline).  Currently available online.   How did the government come to spy on millions of Americans? In United States of Secrets, Frontline goes behind the headlines to reveal the dramatic inside story of the U.S. government's massive and controversial secret surveillance program -- and the lengths it went to try to keep it hidden from the public.  Frontline’s “The United States of Secrets” (parts 1 and 2) covers the evolution of "the program": a top secret surveillance operation that began in the Bush administration and continued at the NSA until Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013.  It also explores the government’s relationships with internet providers and phone companies.

We steal secrets : the story of Wikileaks / Focus World presents a Jigsaw/Global Produce production ; an Alex Gibney film ; produced by Marc Shmuger, Alex Gibney, Alexis Bloom ; written and directed by Alex Gibney. [United States] : Universal Studios Home Entertainment, c2013    1 DVD videodisc (ca. 130 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. Kline Digital/Multimedia Center (4 West) JF1525.S4 W4 2011 VideoDVD :  From Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney comes this gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller about Julian Assange and the creation of WikiLeaks, the controversial website that facilitated the largest security breach in U.S. history. Paralleling Assange’s rise and fall with that of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the troubled young soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is a “riveting, nail-bitingly tense” (Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly), multi-layered exposé about transparency in the information age and our ever-elusive search for the truth.

Selected Books

For a list of suggested books with annotations, click on the Finding Books tab.

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