Politicising Security at the Boundaries: Privacy in Surveillance and Cybersecurity

In: European Review of International Studies
Myriam Dunn CaveltyCenter for Security Studies, ETH Zurich

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Matthias LeeseCenter for Security Studies, ETH Zurich

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This article looks into the politicisation of security. Politicisation, in contrast to securitisation, presupposes that security issues are controversially debated in a public arena without foregone conclusions as to how they are going to be handled. In order to locate and observe politicisation processes empirically, we suggest to look at privacy, a key notion and main tool for resistance vis-à-vis security logics. By examining two issue areas (video surveillance and cybersecurity), we highlight different tactics through which privacy is mobilised as a boundary object to politicise security. The invocation of privacy offers an alternative viewpoint on security, one where the human (digital) body and a human centred notion of security is at the centre. The value of its integrity and the need for its protection is a weighty counter to the abstract and often absolute claims of ‘more security’ through technological means.

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