Nsa affirmative

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NSA Affirmative SLUDL/NAUDL 2015-16

NSA Affirmative

NSA Affirmative 1

Summary 2

Glossary 3

NSA 1AC (4-min Version) (1/4) 4

NSA 1AC (Short Version) (1/6) 9

NSA 1AC (Long Version) (1/18) 18

Answers to NSA not Invasive 42

Answer to Privacy Invasions Inevitable 45

Answers to “Corporations violate privacy ” 46

Answers to Security Comes First 50

Answers to “Posner – Balancing Good” 53

Privacy is a Gateway Right 58

Privacy is key to Autonomy 60

Surveillance Hurts Freedom 61

Surveillance causes a Chilling Effect 64

Fear Magnifies Privacy Loss 67

Answer to “Nothing to Hide” 69

Economy Advantage – Internal Link Magnifier 70

Answers to Hurts Foreign Companies More 74

Answers to Companies won’t leave cloud 75

Answers to Tech industry not hurt 77

Answers to Economic Decline Doesn’t Cause War 79

Answers to Cybersecurity Sector Turn 80

Answers to USA Freedom Act Solves 82

Answers to Internet Freedom Doesn’t Spur Democracy 84

Answers to Internet Freedom is about Profits 86

Answers to International Surveillance matters more 87

Answers to US not modelled 89

Answers to Democracy doesn’t solve war 90

Answers to USA Freedom Act Solves 92

Answers to Domestic Collection is Small 95

Limiting Section 702 Solves 99

Plan Solves PRISM 101

Answers to Reforming domestic surveillance alone doesn’t solve 103

Answers to Circumvention 108

Topicality Domestic (JV & V Only) 114

NSA Surveillance doesn’t stop terrorism (Terror DA Ans) 120

Surveillance causes false positives 123

Surveillance creates too much data 125

Surveillance creates bad data 126

Answer to: would have solved 9/11 127

Answer to the Executive Counterplan (JV & V Only) 129

Answers to Politics – Plan is popular (V Only) 131


This affirmative case argues that the National Security Administration (NSA) current data collection practices are harmful and should be reformed. The affirmative focuses on domestic data collection.

You can choose to construct a case with up to 3 advantages (Privacy, Economy, or Internet Freedom). Read the file select your favorite advantages and practice to make sure you can finish in 8 minutes. Remember the solvency cards to.

Privacy- the NSA currently collects data on millions of internet users who are connected in some way to international communications that the organization is monitoring. This advantage argues that this domestic surveillance practice is a violation of the rights of US citizens and not needed to protect the country from a terrorist attack.

Economy- this advantage argues that NSA domesitic spying programs have hurt the American technology sector as businesses around the world avoid using American products like Dropbox and Google since their content could be monitored by the government. This economic slow down could hurt the world economy and lead to wars.

Internet Freedom- this advantage argues that a domestic surveillance program run by the NSA hurts the ability of the US to persuade dictatorships and other authoritarian governments to maintain a free internet. Access to the internet is crucial to fostering democratic transitions around the world. Democratic governments increase peace and are less likely to start wars.

The affirmative would solve this advantages by placing limits on the collection of data to only communication to or from a suspect in an active investigation. This would prevent the government from stockpiling information on every citizen and help make the search for terrorists and other dangerous groups more efficient.


FISA- The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ("FISA" Pub.L. 95–511, 92 Stat. 1783, 50 U.S.C. ch. 36) is a United States federal law which prescribes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers"

Moore’s Law- is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years. In other words, computers get twice as powerful every 2 years.

NSA- is an intelligence organization of the United States government, responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purpos

PRISM- s a clandestine surveillance program under which the United States National Security Agency (NSA) collects internet communications from at least nine major US internet companies.

Upstream- term used by the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States for intercepting telephone and internet traffic from the internet backbone, i.e. major internet cables and switches, both domestic and foreign.

NSA 1AC (4-min Version) (1/4)

Observation 1 –The USA Freedom Act did not reform the NSA’s mass collection of domestic communication. The agency still has authority to gather data under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.

Goitein, Co-Director Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program 2015,
(Elizabeth, , 6-5-2015, "Who really wins from NSA reform?," MSNBC, http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/freedom-act-who-really-wins-nsa-reform)

Even under USA Freedom, however, the government is still able to pull in a great deal of information about innocent Americans. Needless to say, not everyone in contact with a suspected terrorist is guilty of a crime; even terrorists call for pizza delivery. Intelligence officials also may need to obtain records – like flight manifests – that include information about multiple people, most of whom have nothing to do with terrorism. Some of this “overcollection” may be inevitable, but its effects could be mitigated. For instance, agencies could be given a short period of time to identify information relevant to actual suspects, after which they would have to destroy any remaining information. USA Freedom fails to impose such limits. More fundamentally, bulk collection of business records is only one of the many intelligence activities that abandoned the individualized suspicion approach after 9/11. Until a few years ago, if the NSA, acting within the United States, wished to obtain communications between Americans and foreigners, it had to convince the FISA Court that the individual target was a foreign power or its agent. Today, under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, the NSA may target any foreigner overseas and collect his or her communications with Americans without obtaining any individualized court order. Under Executive Order 12333, which governs the NSA’s activities when it conducts surveillance overseas, the standards are even more lax. The result is mass surveillance programs that make the phone metadata program seem dainty in comparison. Even though these programs are nominally targeted at foreigners, they “incidentally” sweep in massive amounts of Americans’ data, including the content of calls, e-mails, text messages, and video chats. Limits on keeping and using such information are weak and riddled with exceptions. Moreover, foreign targets are not limited to suspected terrorists or even agents of foreign powers. As the Obama administration recently acknowledged, foreigners have privacy rights too, and the ability to eavesdrop on any foreigner overseas is an indefensible violation of those rights. Intelligence officials almost certainly supported USA Freedom because they hoped it would relieve the post-Snowden pressure for reform. Their likely long-term goal is to avoid changes to Section 702, Executive Order 12333, and the many other authorities that permit intelligence collection without any individualized showing of wrongdoing. Privacy advocates who supported USA Freedom did so because they saw it as the first skirmish in a long battle to rein in surveillance authorities. Their eye is on the prize: a return to the principle of individualized suspicion as the basis for surveillance. If intelligence officials are correct in their calculus, USA Freedom may prove to be a Pyrrhic victory. But if the law clears the way for further reforms across the full range of surveillance programs, history will vindicate the privacy advocates who supported it. The answer to what USA Freedom means for our liberties lies, not in the text of the law, but in the unwritten story of what happens next.

NSA 1AC (4-min Version) (2/4)

Observation 2: This creates massive privacy violations, which are more dangerous than any risk of terrorism

Schneier, fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, 2014
Bruce 1-6-2014, "Essays: How the NSA Threatens National Security," Schneier On Security, https://www.schneier.com/essays/archives/2014/01/how_the_nsa_threaten.html

We have no evidence that any of this surveillance makes us safer. NSA Director General Keith Alexander responded to these stories in June by claiming that he disrupted 54 terrorist plots. In October, he revised that number downward to 13, and then to "one or two." At this point, the only "plot" prevented was that of a San Diego man sending $8,500 to support a Somali militant group. We have been repeatedly told that these surveillance programs would have been able to stop 9/11, yet the NSA didn't detect the Boston bombingseven though one of the two terrorists was on the watch list and the other had a sloppy social media trail. Bulk collection of data and metadata is an ineffective counterterrorism tool.

Not only is ubiquitous surveillance ineffective, it is extraordinarily costly. I don't mean just the budgets, which will continue to skyrocket. Or the diplomatic costs, as country after country learns of our surveillance programs against their citizens. I'm also talking about the cost to our society. It breaks so much of what our society has built. It breaks our political systems, as Congress is unable to provide any meaningful oversight and citizens are kept in the dark about what government does. It breaks our legal systems, as laws are ignored or reinterpreted, and people are unable to challenge government actions in court. It breaks our commercial systems, as U.S. computer products and services are no longer trusted worldwide. It breaks our technical systems, as the very protocols of the Internet become untrusted. And it breaks our social systems; the loss of privacy, freedom, and liberty is much more damaging to our society than the occasional act of random violence.

And finally, these systems are susceptible to abuse. This is not just a hypothetical problem. Recent history illustrates many episodes where this information was, or would have been, abused: Hoover and his FBI spying, McCarthy, Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, anti-war Vietnam protesters, and—more recently—the Occupy movement. Outside the U.S., there are even more extreme examples. Building the surveillance state makes it too easy for people and organizations to slip over the line into abuse.

NSA 1AC (4-min Version) (3/4)

We find the current state of affairs troubling and offer the following Plan: The United States federal government will limit the scope of its domestic surveillance under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to communications whose sender or recipient is a valid intelligence target and whose targets pose a tangible threat to national security.

NSA 1AC (4-min Version) (4/4)

Observation 3 – Limiting the scope of the Section 702 authority is critical to solve overcollection of American communications.

Laperruque, Fellow on Privacy, Surveillance, and Security at Center for Democracy and Technology, 2014,
(Jake, "Why Average Internet Users Should Demand Significant Section 702 Reform," Center For Democracy & Technology., 7-22-2014, https://cdt.org/blog/why-average-internet-users-should-demand-significant-section-702-reform/

Where Do We Go From Here?

There are sensible reforms that can significant limit the collateral damage to privacy caused by Section 702 without impeding national security.  Limiting the purposes for which Section 702 can be conducted will narrow the degree to which communications are monitored between individuals not suspected of wrongdoing or connected to national security threatsClosing retention loopholes present in the Minimization Guidelines governing that surveillance will ensure that when Americans’ communications are incidentally collected, they are not kept absent national security needs.  And closing the backdoor search loophole would ensure that when Americans’ communications are retained because they communicated with a target of Section 702 surveillance, they couldn’t be searched unless the standards for domestic surveillance of the American are met.

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