That was the question being debated on the most recent episode of the Intelligence Squared podcast.
Moderated by ABC News’ John Donvan, the debate featured Alex Abdo (American Civil Liberties Union) and Elizabeth Wydra (Constitutional Accountability Center) who argued for the motion; and Stewart Baker (Steptoe & Johnson) and John Yoo (University of California, Berkeley) who argued against the motion.
Here is description of the debate:
Some say that mass collection of U.S. phone records is a gross invasion of privacy. Others say that it is necessary to keep us safe. But what does the U.S Constitution say? “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Is collection of phone records a “search” or “seizure”? If so, is it “unreasonable”? Does it require a particularized warrant and probable cause? These are among the most consequential-and controversial-constitutional questions of our time.
That was the topic being discussed on the Ted Radio Hour.
Here is a description from the podcast:
In this hour, TED speakers explore our changing notions of privacy, the consequences, and whether privacy will soon be a relic of the past.
Smart Takes on the NSA Scandal
The first half of this last Sunday’s Fareed Zarakia GPS discussed the fall out from the NSA spying scandal.
First, Fareed gave his “take” on the issue.
Next, he interviewed Former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg who made news by stating, “Well, everyone spies on each other. That’s a fact. And, at the moment, we hear interesting voices (inaudible) tries to deny that we don’t do it and they do it. Everybody does it.” This is essentially the point Dave Kailer made more than a week earlier on the SLACE Forum.
Finally, Fareed spoke with Former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden. Hayden also made news by stating, “If the president says he didn’t know, he didn’t know. I just take that at face value.”
Here is a description of the show:
On GPS this Sunday: The revelations over alleged tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone by the U.S. National Security Agency have strained relations between the two nations. But how serious are the current tensions? Fareed speaks with former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.
Next, the American side of the story. Who would have given the NSA permission to spy on leaders of ally countries? Former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden gives his take.
“[O]ccasionally, what you have is political guidance kind of being placed on top of your operational planning,” Hayden says. “I had political guidance while I was director of NSA. I had targets. I had legitimate needs. But I was told, frankly, back off. That target is too sensitive. I don’t want you doing that at this time, for this purpose.”