Life After 9/11

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Life after 9/11

Life after 9/11


Views of surveillance and privacy have changed spectacularly in recent years. Some commentators assert that the U.S. has experienced a progressive shift in the balance between police surveillance authority and individual privacy rights (Bloss, 2005). Others cite the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 (9/11 hereafter) as a watershed event that provided the catalyst for the widening of police surveillance and search authority. The record is replete with demonstrations of U.S. official responses to perceived public safety threats that have precipitated an increase in police surveillance activity.

The central place of this paper is that U.S. lawmakers and courts have reacted to perceived global terrorism and crime threats by modifying established civil privacy protections, under the aegis of “preventive law enforcement,” thereby giving the police broader surveillance powers.


Given the rise in transnational crime and terrorism in recent years, some have suggested that a “global perspective” is the most relevant approach to contemporary analyses of these phenomena. Though this influence is not overlooked, this paper purposefully focuses on legal and political changes in U.S. citizen privacy rights in relation to the increased surveillance powers given to its police. In doing so, it is necessary to frame the discussion in the context of legal and socio-political privacy traditions in American society. In spite of this emphasis, other influences have also contributed to shaping the transformation in the U.S. Among those are the effects of globalization and technology. Both have affected modes of information, commerce, communication, identity and susceptibility to crime victimization, as well as the manner in which the police combat crime.

Globalization of Crime and Terrorism

Globalization has altered numerous aspects of political, financial, and civil life worldwide. Many of the same conditions that promote multinational alliances and improve trade among legitimate states also benefit transnational criminals and ...
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