The Importance of Surveillance in the Context of Contemporary Threats: Based on the Experience of the Terrorist Attacks of 11 September 2001
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Humanistic Department of the Koszalin University of Technology
Publication date: 2022-04-01
Studia Politologiczne 2022;63
The main objective of security policy is to prevent threats, which means to fight certain phenomena at their very source. Governments of many countries threatened by a terrorist attack are still searching for an effective way to prevent attacks on intended terrorist targets and to uncover them in time. It is now recognised that monitoring telephone and internet communications is one of the most effective ways to combat terrorism. In recent years, international security has become one of the most debated issues due to, among other things, the coronavirus pandemic and numerous terrorist attacks. An important factor in preventing these threats is how the state and its services function through the use of a variety of tools and techniques, thus creating new and unique ethical and legal problems. The force and impact of state policy measures are often excessive and disproportionate to the threats posed. In this case, civil rights and liberties are most often violated. Doubts that arise when analysing these two values also stimulate reflection on the question to what extent the state is the victim of threats and to what extent it itself is the aggressor. Contemporary threats such as terrorism or the coronavirus pandemic are a major source of public fear that has far-reaching implications for public governance. The analysis carried out in this study examines the use of digital technologies for surveillance and control of the public by governments as a means to combat contemporary threats. The article describes both cases highlighting the importance of digital technology in maintaining security and cites evidence showing the threats that electronic surveillance poses to democratic norms. In other words, digital control over society promotes security but also restricts civil rights and liberties. The article emphasizes the worrying tendency for governments to implement technology rapidly without sufficient concern for the consequences for socio-political life.
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