Author(s): Paul M. Schwartz
Telecommunications surveillance raises complex policy and political issues. It is also a matter of great concern for the general public. Surprisingly enough, however, the phenomenon of telecommunications surveillance is poorly measured in the U.S. at present. As a result, any attempt at rational inquiry about telecommunications surveillance is hampered by the haphazard and incomplete information the U.S. government collects about its own behavior and activities.
Neither the U.S. government nor outside experts know basic facts about the level of surveillance practices. As a consequence, U.S. citizens have limited ability to decide if there is too much or too little telecommunications surveillance. It is also impossible to determine if telecommunications surveillance is increasing or decreasing, or if law enforcement is using its surveillance capacities most effectively.
Keywords: privacy, personal data, telecommunications surveillance