Based on evaluation criteria for oral presentations, what are the strong and weak areas of Christopher Soghioan's TED Talk video presenting a brief history of phone wire tapping and how to avoid it?

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tamarakh's profile pic

Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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There are many different criteria we can use to evaluate oral presentations. Examples include evaluating it for effective content, delivery, clear and logical reasoning, organization, and even style (Binghamton University, "Criteria for the Evaluation of Oral Presentations"; University of New Mexico, "Oral Presentation Judging Criteria").

One thing that stands out about Christopher Soghoian's speech titled "A Brief History of Phone Wiretapping--and how to avoid it" is his factual points. For example, he makes a very memorable point when he says, "Our telephones and the networks that carry our calls were wired for surveillance first." More importantly, he makes the point using slow, emphatic wording, even punching out each word. Hence, not only does the content of his sentence provide a persuasive argument, his delivery of the sentence is also very effective.

He makes a second memorable point when he says, "Silicon Valley companies have built strong encryption technology into their communications products that makes surveillance extremely difficult." However, you can notice that as he says this sentence, he speeds up a great deal. More specifically, he nearly slurs the very important term "Silicon Valley" and speeds up so quickly when he speaks of encryption technology and surveillance that we nearly miss his most vital point--his thesis. While the ideas are still fairly clearly presented, the overall effect of the delivery when he speeds up is to make the reader feel his delivery was sloppy and could have been improved.

Other criteria we can evaluate his speech on concern effective vs. sloppy use of rhetoric to create an effective vs. sloppy style and effective use of transitions to present information in an organized, memorable way.

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teachsuccess's profile pic

teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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First, let's define evaluation criteria: these are the standards/benchmarks by which success/accomplishment is measured through a direct comparison between the strengths and weaknesses of proposed solutions. Below, I'll list some of the subjects Christopher Soghioan focuses on, and describe the criteria he uses to evaluate success in those fields. These are also areas in which you can evaluate Soghioan's arguments to see if you find them compelling.

Objective: Security of telephone conversations.

1)Criterion:  Number/ percentage of phone companies which have built surveillance mechanisms into networks. 

2)Criterion:  Number/ percentage of Silicon Valley companies which have built strong encryption technology into communications products.

Objective: Security of text, audio, and video messaging.

3)Criterion: Number/ Percentage of companies which have built strong encryption technologies into products such that privacy is ensured in regards to text, audio, and video messaging.

4)Criterion: Number of countries where citizens are able to use products such as WhatsApp or Apple communication devices to ensure privacy.

5)Criterion: Number of governments which have the resources to over-ride encryption technologies.

Objective: To ensure consumer privacy and protect national security interests.

6)Criterion: Number/ Percentage of terrorist attacks averted due to intercept of text messages, audio, video, and social media account messaging.

7)Criterion: Number/ Percentage of private citizens whose private information (medical, employment, or military records) have been hacked or subjected to identity theft due to surveillance by foreign governments, stalkers, and criminals.

8)Criterion: Number/ percentage of instances when surveillance backdoors have allowed enemy governments to hack into sensitive national security information. (Mr. Soghoian mentions that the Greek prime minister and members of the Greek cabinet were wiretapped by a foreign government/entity.)

Objective: to increase public knowledge about encrypted products on the market.

9)Criterion: Percentage of the populace in the United States using encrypted communication products.

10)Criterion: Percentage of the global populace using encrypted communication products.

Strengths in Mr. Soghoian's speech: Mr. Soghoian's strong emphasis on privacy and security for the average citizen is exemplary. Another strength is inclusion of examples of pertinent products which will aid in easing privacy concerns.

Weaknesses in Mr. Soghoian's short speech: more discussion is needed regarding the very real possibility of encryption over-ride by intelligence and law enforcement agencies for national security purposes. Also, the ramifications of such an over-ride needs further exploration.

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