17 January 2019 at 13:21 #1612
ECPR General Conference
4-7 September 2019
Below please find the call for panels and papers for the ECPR General Conference Section S25 on
“International and Domestic Consequences of the Politics of Surveillance in the Post-Snowden Era”
The ECPR General Conference will be held from 4-7 September 2019 in Wroclaw, Poland.
Submit panel and paper proposals via the ECPR website by 18 February 2019.
Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations about the United States National Security Agency’s (NSA) secret surveillance practices have had a significant impact on the contemporary US and European politics of surveillance, and they have also influenced the current character of transatlantic relations. The disclosure of about two million secret documents by the American whistleblower raised several questions and concerns about the legality of surveillance programs and the scope of governmental powers in initiating and conducting secret surveillance of citizens and foreign nationals. The political and social debate which occurred in the US and Europe involved such issues as: transparency and secrecy, security and freedom, trust and distrust, or surveillance and sousveillance, leading to even deeper questions about the current state of liberal democracies.
Snowden brought to our attention the enormous amounts of data that the US government intercepts and analyzes with little to no oversight, and also led to similar revelations about surveillance in other countries. As an immediate reaction to the 2013 leaks, the Obama administration announced the necessity to provide for greater transparency and oversight of surveillance policies; however, most of the measures have failed to significantly alter surveillance practices and, indeed, the character and scope of governmental surveillance has even expanded. Meanwhile, the European Union lacks a unified position regarding surveillance: some member states are against authorizing wire-taps, some are against minimum standards for the retention of sensitive data, and others are reluctant to allow cross-border law enforcement activities aimed at monitoring or intercepting communications. Indeed, most governments engage in intelligence gathering both for domestic security purposes and with respect to foreign governments. Even in Germany, which was the only country to initiate a parliamentary investigation of surveillance in light of the Snowden revelations, legislation passed to reign in its intelligence agencies has contributed, instead, to the legalization and legitimation of surveillance practices. Nevertheless, it seems that divergent views on security, secrecy, and surveillance are likely to influence relations both among European countries, and between Europe and the United States for the coming decades.
Especially in an “age of surveillance,” when surveillance is becoming a powerful and ubiquitous mode of conducting politics, putting domestic civil liberties at risk and making international cooperation precarious, investigating which factors promote and which factors restrain secret surveillance has gained new urgency for all democratic states. Given the prevalence of surveillance, and the historically low levels of public trust in both domestic and international institutions, we are especially interested in the intersection of the concepts of trust and transparency with surveillance. New research is necessary to understand the direction of the relationship between public trust in institutions and the acceptance of surveillance, and to understand when and how institutional transparency works as a technique of legitimation or as a mode of regulation of surveillance practices. These issues have further implications for questions such as the consequences of surveillance practices for the separation of powers, checks and balances, institutional accountability, the scope of the rights and freedoms of individuals, and the erosion of liberal democratic governance.
The Section invites panels and papers relating to such issues as:
– the consequences of current politics of surveillance on the debate concerning the state of liberal democracy;
– the direction of national and international politics of surveillance in the post-Snowden era;
– the role of governmental institutions and agents in conducting, but also overseeing surveillance policies and programs;
– the impact of non-governmental organizations in the process of raising awareness about negative consequences of surveillance;
– the interaction of public and private actors in surveillance activities;
– the interplay of political and legal reasoning shaping contemporary politics of domestic and international surveillance;
– the effect of surveillance and Snowden’s revelations on transatlantic relations;
– the prospects for international cooperation on surveillance practices and cybersecurity;
– the relationship of trust and distrust to surveillance practices;
– the ways transparency counters or enables secrecy and surveillance;
– the effectiveness of legal and political decisions on surveillance practices in the post-Snowden era on their legitimation and accountability.
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