Privacy & Terrorism Review Where Have We Come In 10 Years?

Besar Xhelili, Emir Crowne


As a result of terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11 and subsequent attacks on other influential western countries, new laws have been put in place to supposedly be an effective tool to prevent terrorist attacks and conjointly fight the war on drugs. These laws and presidential executive orders have not been without controversy.  The Patriot Act will be used as the primary source of legislation in illustrating how in times of fear governments introduce laws, which normally would not be accepted by the general population as a clear invasion of their privacy. In addition, Canada and the United Kingdom’s anti-terrorist legislations will be compared with the United States. Money laundering, terrorist anti-terrorist finance, government investigative surveillance, and data mining will be the areas this paper will focus on to illustrate the emerging invasion on privacy for the sake of security. Despite the fact that we are losing our privacy to our fears of danger, a light will be shed as to the effectiveness of these new laws. Case law will be used to illustrate that the courts have been reluctant in invalidating laws that infringe our constitutionally given rights of privacy. Possible alternative measures will be given to deal with acts of terrorism. This paper will argue that privacy rights have seen a shift from its traditional understanding since the recent terrorist attacks on the western governments and that security has taken a primary role; privacy rights have been traded as a commodity in the market by the U.S and to a lesser extent the Canadian government.


privacy, terrorism, 9-11, 9/11, security, civil liberties, PATRIOT Act, Canada, US, UK, comparative, human rights, technology

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