Intelligence Squared: Mass Collection of U.S. Phone Records

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Some say that the 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? On this episode of Intelligence Squared, two sides debate the issue which has polarized many for much of the past decade.

"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.

Panelists for the argument:

  • Alex Abdo: staff attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project
  • Elizabeth Wydra: Chief Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center

Panelists against the argument:

  • Stewart Baker: former Assistant Secretary, Homeland Security, and former General Counsel, NSA
  • John Yoo: Professor of Law, UC Berkeley, and former Justice Department lawyer

Airs Saturday, December 6 at 6am on 93.9FM and NJPR, 2pm on AM 820 and 9pm on NJPR; Airs Sunday, December 7 at 8pm on AM 820

Watch the debate: