Chapter 11: Globalisation, Surveillance and the ‘War’ on Terror
Michael McCahill INTRODUCTION This chapter aims to explore the relationship between ‘globalisation’, the ‘war on terror’, ‘surveillance’ and ‘citizenship’. Firstly, the chapter argues that the rapid increase in the use of ‘new surveillance’ technologies has been driven by wider global trends which pre-date the ‘war on terror’. Secondly, it shows that following the attacks on September 11 in the United States these developments have intensiﬁed as the ‘rush to surveillance’ has become a ‘global’ phenomenon (see Ball and Webster, 2003; Lyon, 2003a). Thirdly, the chapter draws upon theoretical debates on ‘panopticism’ and ‘postpanopticism’ to argue that the rush to a ‘technological ﬁx’ may not have the desired eﬀects in terms of preventing ‘global terrorism’. Finally, the chapter goes on to show how the ‘globalisation’ of surveillance may have serious unintended consequences which threaten civil liberties and community cohesion. SURVEILLANCE BEFORE SEPTEMBER 11 It has become a commonplace that following the attacks in the US on September 11 2001, ‘everything changed’. Exceptional circumstances, it is argued, call for exceptional measures, hence the rapid introduction of new legislation (for example, The Patriot Act), new practices (for example, detention without trial), and the deployment of ‘new surveillance’ technologies (CCTV, biometrics, message interception, data mining, etc.). However, the rapid introduction of new legislation and surveillance practices in response to ‘terror’ is not an entirely new phenomenon. Consider the UK reaction to the Feinian bombings in 1883, for example, when Parliament introduced the Explosive Substances Act, or the introduction of new legislation and...
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