Adventures in digital surveillance


Common concerns about the extent of government intrusion into digital communications were confirmed by the extensive revelations by Edward Snowden, a young contractor to the US National Security Agency. Snowden used the press to inform the world that a global surveillance state may be being built. This led to the beginning of a global political debate on digital communications surveillance. This article focuses on Anna, a 28 year-old typical and entirely fictional computer science Ph.D. student at a European university. It explores the development of Anna’s concerns about digital surveillance through interactions with her direct circle of friends and family. The purpose is to give the reader information and ideas for an informed ethical self-analysis of the position he or she may take in this ever-intensifying debate.

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Correspondence to Bendert Zevenbergen.

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Zevenbergen, B. Adventures in digital surveillance. European View 12, 223–233 (2013).

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  • Privacy
  • Data protection
  • Surveillance
  • National Security Agency (NSA)
  • Government Communications Headquarters
  • Internet cyber security