Debating Matters International 2017: online privacy

Saturday 28 October, 17:3018:45, Frobisher Auditorium 1Festival Attractions


In association with:

Motion: “In a digital age we should not expect our online activities to remain private”

Battle of Ideas hosts the seventh Debating Matters International Final. This year will feature the winners of the UK Competition 2016/17, Loreto College from Manchester, and the winners from Debating Matters Berlin 2016/17, Nelson Mandela School. Known for its rigorous and intellectually challenging format that values substance over style, the Debating Matters International Final will showcase the very best debaters from both the UK and Berlin.

25 years on from the introduction of the World Wide Web, the internet now permeates our everyday lives; many of us use it daily to shop, pay our bills, and communicate with friends. The digital revolution, has made unfathomable amounts of information available at the click of a mouse, opening us up to the world like never before. But have the benefits of the digital age come at a cost to our privacy? From the recent revenge porn controversy involving Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna, resulting in personal photographs being leaked to the media and online, and Facebook attempting to manipulate users’ moods, to Google admitting that users of its Gmail system can have no “reasonable expectation” that their communications are confidential, privacy online has become a key issue of our time. With many of us now increasingly living our lives online, has the digital age changed how we perceive the private sphere, or is privacy an absolute that we should expect online as well as off?

For more information and a full set of readings on the motion, please see the Debating Maters Topic Guide: “In a digital age we should not expect our online activities to remain private”



Loreto College, Manchester

Nichita Matei
Nichita is studying English Language, Physics, Maths and Further Maths.  He has finally settled on applying for PPE at university after considering nearly every subject available in turn.  When not studying or debating, he plays basketball and watches unhealthy amounts of the TV series ‘Suits’.

Francesca Sellers
Francesca is studying Politics, Economics and History; she is also researching the history of Iran for her Extended Project on the Sogdians.  She hopes to study PPE at university and is passionate about  debating and Model United Nations; in her spare time she also likes making jewellery.

Nelson Mandela School, Berlin

Julia Danneman
Julia is ​a​ ​student​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Nelson​ ​Mandela​ ​School​ ​in​ ​Berlin​ ​and​ ​is ​currently in​ ​her​ ​13th​ ​and​ ​final​ ​year.​ ​While​ ​she ​was​ ​born​ ​in​ ​London,​ ​her​ ​family​ ​moved to​ ​Germany​ ​when​ ​she​ ​was​ ​three​ ​years​ ​old.​ ​Julia has​ ​always​ ​had​ ​a​ ​passion for​ ​debating,​ ​which​ ​led​ ​her​ ​to​ ​join​ ​my​ ​school’s​ ​debate​ ​team​ ​just​ ​before the​ ​Debating​ ​Matters​ ​Berlin​ ​pilot.​ ​In​ ​part​ ​because​ ​of​ ​that​ ​first competition​ ​she ​joined​ ​the​ ​Model​ ​United​ ​Nations​ ​club,​ ​which​ ​Julia ​now​ leads.​ ​Outside​ ​of​ ​debating,​ ​Julia’s​ ​main​ ​interests​ ​are physics​ ​and​ ​mathematics,​ ​which she intends to study.

Alec Dent
Alec was born in Berlin and is currently attending his twelfth year at the International Nelson-Mandela-School. Alec joined his debate team in 2016, for the annual Debating Matters Competition. His passion for debate comes from the environment provided by his school and from the experience of growing up in Berlin. Outside of school Alec is pursuing an interest in technology and the environment. He is currently involved in the Bikesat Project, which is developing a mobile measurement platform for air quality.


Justine Brian
director, Civitas Schools

Dr Eliot Forster
CEO, Immunocore; chairman, MedCity

Patrick Hayes
director, British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA)