Indiscriminate mass surveillance and the public sphere

Ethics and Information Technology 18 (1):33-39 (2016)
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Recent disclosures suggest that many governments apply indiscriminate mass surveillance technologies that allow them to capture and store a massive amount of communications data belonging to citizens and non-citizens alike. This article argues that traditional liberal critiques of government surveillance that center on an individual right to privacy cannot completely capture the harm that is caused by such surveillance because they ignore its distinctive political dimension. As a complement to standard liberal approaches to privacy, the article develops a critique of surveillance that focuses on the question of political power in the public sphere.

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Titus Stahl
University of Groningen


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