Orwell or All Well? The Rise of Surveillance Culture

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Abstract

It was an inevitable reaction to specific acts of terrorism, as well as the broader evolution of crime and technology, that governments in Australia and elsewhere would seek to increase and update their legal ability to surveil their citizens and others, in order to track, respond to and possibly pre-empt criminal acts. There is nothing new about state surveillance, but there have clearly been considerable advances in technology that alter the potential balance and boundaries of private and public information and activities. These new technologies may be used to either enhance or - more commonly - intrude on privacy and civil liberties (to the extent those are actually recognised by our systems of law in the first place) .

Other commentators have already observed that many of the recent legislative interventions, though on the surface initiated by and directed against terrorist attacks, have a much broader functionality. For example, the Patriot legislation in the US (the very title of which reads like Orwellian newspeak) contains a number of provisions that extend general law enforcement powers, some of which may be used to counter terrorism, but which are by no means so limited in terms of their legal reach or actual use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-262
Number of pages5
JournalAlternative Law Journal
Volume30
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

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