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Just over the horizon – the surveillance society and the state in the EU TONY BUNYAN

SAGE Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC

Abstract:  In cold war times, the ‘West’ espoused liberal democracy and freedom from surveillance and control. It is thus ironic that with the cold war a distant memory – though it only ended less than twenty years ago – the EU and its member states are set on a path which will, in just a few years time, turn it into the most surveilled, monitored region in the world. The wider context for all this is increased state racism (both at the national and EU levels), combined with the emergence of the ‘policing state’, engendered by a political and governmental authoritarianism that legitimises itself through the trappings of representative democracy. Keywords:  biometrics, CCTV, civil liberties, data-mining, DNA database, Prum treaty, war on terror

The EU today is at a crossroads in the transition to a new era, which has profound implications for democratic accountability, state power, and its role vis-à-vis the imperatives of globalisation. The most obvious symptom of this transition is the plethora of surveillance initiatives and mass-scale data gathering that the EU has embarked upon. But these are only the outward manifestation of the emergence across Europe of the policing and security state, which, in its turn, is ushering in a

Tony Bunyan is director of Statewatch, which monitors civil liberties and the state in the EU. This article is based on talks given in Corinth, Sofia, Milan, Berlin, Brussels, Kent and London.

Race & Class Copyright © 2010 Institute of Race Relations, Vol. 51(3): 1–12 10.1177/0306396809354162 http://rac.sagepub.com

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