First article I read was Escalating US Police Surveillance after 9/11 Examination of Causes and Effects, written by William Bloss in 2007. Basically, he wrote about how historically law enforcement agencies use crime control on issues such as drug and terrorism to expand their powers while invading our civil liberties. He also questioned if this pattern continued, how would this effect our quality of civil life.
This is the by far the most interesting source I found. (Not saying that my other sources are not interesting, this piece is just more interesting) Basically, it made me question changing my topic a little. I would love to continue to research the balance of national security and civil liberties, and also investigate on how it will effect the public if we continue to lose our civil liberties.
This is the nugget I chose from my first articles:
“As noted, post-9/11 expansion of police surveillance powers is, in part, a result of an official reaction to the perception of terrorism threats. This response contributes to the second effect of police conspicuous surveillance which is to disrupt lives and alter the public perception of risk through visible preventive measures and public safety rhetoric. As Parenti (2003: 200) explains “[9/11] radically accelerated momentum toward the soft cage of a surveillance society, just as it gave the culture of fear a rejuvenating jolt.”
The desire by extremists to cause disruption and promote public anxiety is among the bedrock principles of terrorism (Crenshaw, 2003). Additionally, terrorists strive to provoke an official response, which changes the stability of everyday life, through the use of symbolic political violence (See generally White, 2006). As Stohl (2003: 85) commented “[Osama] bin Laden’s interviews in May 2001 with the Arab journalists also indicated that he was hoping for an unrestrained U.S. government response that would clamp down on the domestic public and limit civil liberties and “normal” American life [after the 9/11 attacks].” In this sense, both the intentional actions of terrorists, and subsequent official reactions, have led to greater public anxiety and suspicion”.
In the U.S. there is considerable debate about the merits of surrendering privacy rights and civil liberties for greater public safety (Chang, 2003; Whitaker, 2003; Bailey, 2004; O’Harrow, 2005; Sykes, 1999). To what extent, though, do these perceived threats promote the level of public panic desired by extremists? In addressing the new terrorism, Laqueur (1999: 272) suggested that public panic responses to threats of terrorism have profound effects on public life. He stated “True panic is contagious, a crowd phenomenon, not an individual one. The consequences of mass panic in both material and human terms can be huge; they can lead to a paralysis of normal life, epidemics, post-traumatic stress, and tremendous anxiety, especially if the nature and extent of the danger remains unknown.”
Scary, huh? After 9/11, we didnt mind giving up our privacy in order to be protected but, as Bloss pointed out, the increase surveillance disrupted some peoples lives and altered the public perception of risk. Terrorists goals is to incite fear in the public and to undermine the governments legitimacy, and that exactly what al Qaeda did. He continues to discuss how relinquishing our civil liberties can led to paralysis of normal life and mass panic. Also, it will change how the Government is operated. If we keep giving up civil liberties, like we have been doing since WWII, and thirty years, how will United States policies look like?
Well, this is just one possibility.
In the next article, we look at not implementing anti-privacy legislation. In The Threat of Cyberterrorism to Critical Infrusture, Sam Power wrote:
What is worrisome, however, is that over the past 10 years in particular, trends have emerged that illustrate that al-Qaeda and other terrorists have taken an interest in directing their cyber capabilities towards directly hitting US infrastructure and causing mass damage. We have also learned, and have seen from example, that attacks can be orchestrated without massive funding, by single actors, who are not even affiliated with a terrorist group.
In her book Computer Forensics: Cybercriminals, Laws and Evidence, Marie-Helen Maras provides various examples of such instances where “lone wolves” were able to break into SCADA systems, and if they so desired, could have created massive damage. For example, in 2000, a Russian man hacked into an ICS that ran a natural gas pipeline and was able to control the flow of LNG. “Hypothetically, this hacker could have easily increased the gas pressure until the valves broke, causing an explosion to occur.” Although many of these actors have been “lone wolves,” terrorist organizations have not sat on the sidelines idly. Rather, since the new millennium, terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, and groups supported by Iran like Hamas and Hezbollah, have been actively working towards developing a capacity to strike at the heart of the industrialized world’s critical infrastructure to cause terror and havoc.  Former Presidential Adviser for Cyberspace Security, Richard Clarke expresses his concern on the terrorist entrée into the world of cyberwar in a PBS Frontline special. Clarke comments:
We also found indications that members of al-Qaeda were from outside of the Unites States doing reconnaissance in the United States on our critical infrastructure. Where were railroad crossings? Where were the big natural gas depositories? Where were the bridges over rivers that also carried the fiber for the backbone on the Internet? It’s possible now to do that kind of targeting, which would have, in the past, required lots of people and running around the country. It is possible to sit in the cyber café in Peshawar and do that kind of reconnaissance.
Wow. Another scary possibility.
I know no one can tell the future, but these scenarios are supported by facts and events. But again, privacy vs. security. Possibility one vs. Possibility two. This just emphasizes even more how we need to find the right balance between civil liberties and national security. We need to find some way to protect ourselves , while not relinquishing any more privacy.
Now I need to hit the kitchen to find recipes on what policies can be used effectively to create, the needed, balance between civil liberties and strength in nation security.