Transformations of Surveillance: From National Security to Private Security Industry

  • Aleš Završnik


This chapter outlines the transformations of surveillance in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries occurring as a result of profound economic, social and political change in the post-socialist transition. It begins with the socio-economic framework in which new and historically significant technologically enhanced surveillance practices (TESPs) should be understood. This chapter works from the position that flourishing multi- and cross-disciplinary “surveillance studies” have overlooked non-western and non-Anglophone experiences of surveillance. It fills this gap by situating the “surveillance question” within the field of social control theories which were highly elaborated in the CEE region. These theories approached surveillance from a different world view, with different research questions. After putting surveillance within this social control context, this chapter maps the surveillance practices seen in socialist regimes, which used it predominantly for national security purposes with labour-intensive methods and by relying on networks of informers. Some specific features of surveillance during the Balkan war are then addressed. This chapter continues by showing how a growing private sector has challenged and to some extent supplanted state-controlled agencies in carrying out surveillance, not only in the interests of »national security«—a notion long used by government to justify extra-judicial policing—but also of consumerism and profit. It then focuses on the development of this industry and offers examples of transformation in the border surveillance, road surveillance and consumer surveillance domains. After tackling the fundamental question of why surveillance is problematic and giving some examples of counter-surveillance initiatives in the CEE region, the author concludes by demonstrating how public awareness of intensified surveillance is increasing in the region.


National Security Crime Control Informal Control Social Control Theory Surveillance Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This book could not have been written without initiative and ongoing enthusiasm and elegance in co-ordinating the research group of co-editor Professor Alenka Šelih. I would like to sincerely thank her for inviting me in the process of drafting and editing the book as well as liaising me with other authors of the book from whom I benefited beyond the chapter produced here. For their help in the course of writing this chapter, I would like to thank the authors of this book for invaluable comments and suggestions to earlier drafts at our meetings, especially Professor Alenka Šelih, Professor of Miklós Lévay, Professor Zoran Kanduč and Professor Vesna Nikolić-Ristanović. The ideas produced would not have any social value whatsoever if not expressed in a precise manner and also in an enjoyably elegant fashion worth focusing on. For going well beyond the words expressed, as many times before, my gratitude goes to John Stubbs.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Law, Institute of CriminologyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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