Award Date

May 2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Emily Troshynski

Second Committee Member

Melissa Rorie

Third Committee Member

Terance Miethe

Fourth Committee Member

Tiffany Howard

Number of Pages

130

Abstract

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States has placed an increased focus upon government and private agencies to engage in surveillance practices in order to combat terrorism. The passing of the United States PATRIOT ACT (2001) expanded the surveillance capabilities of law enforcement officials thus allowing both federal and state agencies to legally wiretap a range of communication devices. Under the justification of “fighting terrorism,” federal and state agencies now have more access to sensitive data on/about a range of persons including subjects of interest. Legal scholars (Bam, 2015, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), have questioned the constitutionality of the advancement of surveillance practices in government agencies including the role private agencies play in assisting federal agencies in criminal investigations. Even so, research dedicated to how the public understands the expansion of state and federal surveillance capabilities, and connections to private entities, is under studied.

Using the Globalization of Personal Data (GPD) survey questionnaire from Surveillance, Privacy, and the Globalization of Personal Information by Elia Zureik, the goal of this research project is to identify how individuals in the United States perceive the transfer of their personal data between government and private agencies. Through non-probability online quota sampling methods (Singleton and Straits, 2005), responses from participants stratified into five different racial stratums are analyzed and used to examine the extent to which citizens in the United States are either concerned or unconcerned about surveillance practices used by government (state and federal) and private agencies. In order to examine the impact that levels of knowledge and awareness of current surveillance technology and legislative policies has on citizens’ concerns, this research project also seeks to examine important socio-demographic differences between respondents. Ultimately, this research represents an attempt to establish a dialogue for future policy makers discussing how citizens perceive the “dataveillance” capabilities of government and private agencies, and whether current legislation goes far enough to protect citizens from unreasonable government intrusions.

Keywords

datamining; privacy; surveillance

Disciplines

Sociology

Language

English


Included in

Sociology Commons

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