In class the other day, I asked you to brainstorm questions that you might need answered as you prepare your final argumentative essays. Below is a curated list of those questions. I'll ask you in this week's bookmark assignment (see next post) to find a source that helps answer one or more of these questions.

  • How effective has mass surveillance been in preventing terror attacks since 9/11?
  • What actual harm has come to US citizens as a result of mass surveillance?
  • How specifically has the pursuit of privacy impeded security efforts?
  • What are the mechanisms behind surveillance? How precisely are people surveilled in the US?
  • What is the balance of threats to national security that come from inside the US versus outside?
  • What specific legal frameworks are relevant to a discussion of mass surveillance?
    • What safeguards are in place to protect people from unwarranted surveillance?
    • What about other regulations or policies that govern privacy? Like regulations that might govern Facebook?
  • What reasons for surveillance does a government have other than terrorism prevention?
  • What have experts predicted for the future of surveillance?
  • What alternatives to mass surveillance have been proposed, and by whom?
  • What does polling say about public perception of surveillance and privacy?
  • What does this debate look like other countries? Say, China or the EU?
  • What do experts say about the risks of government “back doors” in software?