The Ambiguous Relation Between Privacy and Security in German Cyber Politics

A Discourse Analysis of Governmental and Parliamentary Debates
  • Katharina Dimmroth
  • Wolf J. Schünemann


Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding the NSA surveillance activities globally reignited debates on the tension between freedom and security. Within those debates, the issues of cybersecurity and data protection are oftentimes part of the same meta-narrative even as they represent differing aspects in the question of how much freedom must be relinquished in order to guarantee a state’s security. This chapter sets out to disentangle the discourses of cybersecurity and data protection in German governmental and parliamentary discourse post-Snowden. To achieve this, we analysed both government and parliamentary documents using the Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse (SKAD). Aside from a meta-narrative of cyber anxiety, we found that problem definitions are used in governmental and parliamentary discourse on cybersecurity and data protection in very similar ways. The frames and narratives regarding proposed solutions offer distinctions, as parliamentary speakers tend to emphasise the importance of privacy and data protection over cybersecurity.


Data Protection Intelligence Agency Critical Infrastructure Personal Privacy Personal Freedom 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Hildesheim UniversityHildesheimGermany

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