Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Maria Helen Murphy
Information and Communications Technology Law
*The Pendulum Effect: Comparisons Between the Snowden Revelations and the Church Committee. What are the Potential Implications for Europe?
Optional Fields
data retention European Union privacy Snowden surveillance
This article considers how the pendulum metaphor can be applied to shifts in popular opinion concerning the right to privacy. At times, the media portrays privacy as an individualistic right, serving at the behest of criminals and terrorists. Every so often, however, an event occurs that starkly reminds the public of the value of privacy. Public opinion drives debate and this debate often leads to legal reform. The Church Committee, formed in response to the Watergate scandal, is a classic example of the effect the exposure of abuse can have on the regulation of privacy. Over time, however, legislative gains in privacy protection have a tendency to erode. In addition, extreme events, such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11, can cause the pendulum to swing back to the opposite position. Following the exposure of mass surveillance practices by Edward Snowden, the world has, once again, been questioning government surveillance activities. This article seeks to consider the transatlantic impact of the National Security Agency revelations. Transparency is highlighted as a crucial regulating force on excessive government interference with privacy rights.
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