CSM debate on mass surveillance again the winning lot!

In the group presentation in the CSM-elective ‘governance of crime and social disorder’ of teacher Elke Devroe students battled again for the winning lot, namely this blog published in the Leiden university Website.


Groups of students presented in the final session of this course pro’s and con’s of the topic of their choice in a group role-play debate. Students created a real life TV-debate and enjoyed lifting green and red cards for statement voting. Not the teacher but the students themselves got to vote for the best presentation. The votes were counted by an innocent hand and the winner of this challenging debate session was group 1 on mass surveillance. Although the other groups had very good presentations too (on gated communities and Unified Pacifying Police Unit in Rio de Janeiro) group 1 was definitely the most appealing. Last year the winning team tackled the same topic illustrating students sensibility for this issue.

Students summarize their debate:
“If you knew you were being watched, would you behave differently?” “Would you not second guess your natural inclinations or tendencies?” 
“Perhaps you would act like a totally different person and behave more average?”
Recent changes in the legislative framework for intelligence services (WIV) allow intelligence services to access Internet communication data. In response, we presented four different perspectives to illustrate the influence of these new surveillance techniques.
Firstly, David Lyon, a sociologist who wrote many papers on mass surveillance, gave the academic perspective. He noted the influence mass surveillance could have in a growing culture of fear. Secondly, a concerned citizen was introduced that was suffering from mental issues because of the feeling of being watched and traced in his every day movement. Third, a police officer from the local police indicated that the police of Gouda is solving minor crimes a lot faster due to enlarged capabilities. And fourth, a human rights activist of the NGO Stopwatching.us pointed at a violation of the right to privacy, article 3 of the Universal declaration of human rights.

This was the kick off for a nice debate with a variety of views on the final statement: “As a citizen I feel more secure due to mass surveillance”?

The winning group is presented here (from left to right): Lars van Dorsselaer (human right activist), Roan Ligthart (concerned citizen), anonymous (afraid of mass surveillance) and Brian Hamelink (police officer Gouda)

The winning group is presented here (from left to right): Lars van Dorsselaer (human right activist), Roan Ligthart (concerned citizen), anonymous (afraid of mass surveillance) and Brian Hamelink (police officer Gouda)

Study in Leiden

Last Modified: 02-11-2015