Is surveillance endangering freedom? The cases of the UK and Germany

Ísold Hákonardóttir & Hinnerk Daniel Frech

Studenteropgave: Basisprojekt


After the tragic events in New York and Washington D.C., of 11th of September 2001,
awareness of the dangers of Terrorist attacks spread around the world. Fear spread to Europe and
states made terror defence strategies to protect their citizens and to prevent this event from
repeating itself in the lands of Europe. In the light of Edward Snowden’s leaks about US and
British mass surveillance programmes, a public discussion on surveillance, privacy and freedom
emerged in many countries. In these discussions, the need for surveillance was often justified
based on the threat of international terrorism. Inspired by this discussion, this works aim is to
investigate, how politicians argue for the need of surveillance. Consequently, in this project, we
will analyse political speeches on surveillance legislation to examine arguments in favour of
surveillance. The speech analysis will be embedded in a comparative case study on Germany and
the United Kingdom since both countries are interesting cases to look at in the discussion after
9/11, as we will discuss in the project. This work will make use of social science research
methods such as comparative case study and content analysis. Moreover, the work will critically
review possible effects of surveillance on modern societies and look at securitisation in
connection with the terrorist threat. The focus will be on the relation between freedom and
security, since it is often part of the discussions on surveillance. For that, we will draw on
Jeremy Bentham and Foucault’s work on the Panopticon. Drawing from Foucault’s work
Discipline and Punish we will discuss the Panopticon in a modern context to critically assess the
implications surveillance has on societies.

UddannelserBasis - International Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato19 dec. 2017
Antal sider48


  • surveillance
  • freedom
  • terrorism